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"If you go far enough and see enough 
people, you will sell your booksT 

—P. F. Collier's advice 
to his son. 

Finding the Prospect 


Getting the Interview 


President, Charles B. Roth and Associates, Business Counselors; 
Author of " Secrets of Closing Sales/' "The Selling Parade/' 
"The Key to Your Personality," "Truth About Adver- 
tising," "Effective Personality Building" 

New York 



Copyright, 1946, by 


70 Fifth Avenue, New York 






To Alonzo E. Ellsworth 

Good friend, sane counsel, loyal associate 


Whenever this country has what is called a salesman's 
holiday, which is another name for a seller's market, with 
goods scarce and money and buyers plentiful, there is 
always an aftermath. There has to be. It is the old law 
of cause and effect or action and reaction at work. And the 
aftermath is always tragic to salesmen. In these easy, lush 
times they actually forget how to sell. 

Instead of being hard and aggressive and resourceful, 
which every salesman must be to win, they become soft 
and lazy and unimaginative. Then when conditions that 
are regarded as normal by every businessman return as they 
always do— conditions requiring hard selling— these soft 
salesmen just cannot make the grade. They flounder 
around. Either they have to toughen up their selling mus- 
cles or go into some other line of endeavor. Depending 
upon their temperaments, they do one or the other. 

Perhaps the one phase of selling which causes salesmen, 
just awakening from the dream land of a seller's market, 
the most trouble is that of finding the prospect and getting 
the interview. Used to having everyone a prospect, they 
forget that prospects now have to be discovered, discerned, 
stalked, wooed, won. 

You see, one of the secrets, if I may repeat an over-used 
word, of the top salesmen is that they are able to make 

[ vii ] 


their time count by spending it where it will do the most 
good; that is to say, with actual prospects, not with those 
we call suspects. Some men seem to have the knack of 
knowing when a man is in the market for what they have 
to sell. 

I knew such a man; a printer. It was said of him that 
he knew when a prospect needed to buy printing even 
before the prospect knew it. And there he would be, 
Johnny-on-the-spot, to create an order before his com- 
petitors suspected there was any life in the prospect what- 

It was, naturally, no sixth sense or playing of hunches 
that enabled this man and the other good salesmen to tell 
where there was a prospect ripe for selling. These top 
salesmen were simply good prospectors, following a defi- 
nite system that any other salesman could learn. 

During the coming years, when selling subsides into the 
good, hard, wholesome game of finding more prospects 
and outselling your competitors, this ability to find pros- 
pects and get interviews is going to be more and more 
important. The success chart of every salesman who ever 
lived depended upon the mathematics of selling a higher 
proportion of prospects called upon— the ratio of calls 
per sale, you know. The easiest way to increase that 
ratio is to call upon better prospects. That should go with- 
out saying. Yet you would be astonished at the number 
of experienced salesmen who never give this matter much 

Just the other day I was talking to a man who has been 
selling, with some degree of success, for twenty-five years. 

[ viii ] 


"It is becoming harder to make time count in my busi- 
ness," he volunteered. 

"It is? Why?" 

"There are so many duds among the prospects a fellow 
calls upon." 

"More than usual?" 

"Maybe not. But it seems so. There have always been 
duds. I have kept a pretty close record of my entire sell- 
ing life. My selling average down the years has been one 
sale to ten presentations." 

"That's pretty good," I told him; "higher than the 

"But don't you see what it means? It means I have 
been only ten per cent effective. It means I have wasted 
nine-tenths of my time; twenty-two and a half years of 
my life, by spending my time where it did no good." 

What he said he said partially in a jocular manner. He 
knew and I knew that there always was, always will be 
some lost motion in any activity so dependent upon hu- 
man nature as salesmanship. But underlying his words 
there was seriousness. 

Suppose, for instance, he went on, he had been able 
in some way to separate the qualified prospects— those who 
were able and willing to buy— from the mere suspects— 
those whom he merely thought might buy. Suppose he 
had had some device or formula which would enable him 
to predetermine the prospects that should be called upon, 
the prospects that should be ignored. He could have done 
several times as much work, could have created several 
times as much wealth by his efforts. 



There is no device or formula that will ever enable a 
salesman to cut out all the waste time from his selling life. 
But there are certain tested rules and techniques that 
will help him to minimize it. During the next decade, 
which will probably be a hard selling decade, it is impor- 
tant that a salesman shall recognize, know, and practice 
these rules. 

The purpose of this book is to give you the rules and 
techniques; point out simple ways that will help you, 
first, to find your prospects; second, to predetermine their 
worth; third, to get in to see them; fourth, to establish 
your interview on a sound basis by saying and doing the 
right things during the first few critical seconds of every 

Selling authorities for years have held that the approach 
stage— which takes place at the very beginning of the in- 
terview—is the most important of all. Several of them 
have ascribed a relative value to it. One man calls the ap- 
proach seventy-five per cent important. 

This is a book about the vital seventy-five per cent of 
your selling life. I think it is a practical book which will 
enable you to save time, to get to the right man easier, 
win his attention quicker, and close more of your starts. 
It is a book for the man who wants to make the most of 
the coming years when a buyer's market will prevail and 
it will take intelligence, energy, and improved technique 
to win. 

Charles B. Roth 

[ x ] 



i. Prospects Are the Lifeblood of Business . i 

2 . How to Know a Prospect When You Meet 

One .8 

3. Finding Prospects in Your Territory . . 20 

4. You Never Can Tell Where You'll Find 

a Prospect 29 

5. Prepare Before You Call and You Can't 

Miss 41 

6. Cutting Down on Waste Calls . . 5 1 

7. Jumping the Hurdles Between You and 

the Prospect 61 

8. When the Buyer Won't See You . . 71 

9. Getting in to See Big, Busy, Important 

Men 80 

10. The Goal of Every Interview— Attention 91 

11. The Ideal Approach 102 

12. Handling Interruptions During the Ap- 

proach Stage 1 1 1 

1 3 . Following Up Inquiries and Leads . .118 

14. Working by Appointment and Its Advan- 

tages 126 

15. Meeting Rebuffs and Countering Discour- 

tesy 132 

[ xi ] 


1 6. What to Do When You Can't Get Atten- 

tion 140 

17. Strategy of the Approach on Recalls . 146 

18. How to Know When to Stop Calling . 152 

19. Building Your Prospect List and Keeping 

It Fit 158 

20. Manufacturing Customers . . .165 
Index 173 

[ xii ] 



The sales manager called his men together at a time 
when business was bad, sales were almost nonexistent, and 
the future was dark. He was serious. 

"As you know, we are facing a critical period," he be- 
gan. "This is a time for action, not oratory, so I want to 
make what I have to say short. I want volunteers for spe- 
cial duty. It will not be easy. It will not be pleasant. But 
I do think it will solve our problems. You accept this duty 
on a purely voluntary basis. I am not requesting anyone 
to serve." 

The men knew the boss; knew that a suggestion from 
him was tantamount to an order and, furthermore, knew 
he never suggested an idea that wouldn't work. As a mat- 
ter of course they all signed up. 

Then they found out what they had agreed to do. It 
was simple. 

First, each man agreed that every night before he went 
to bed he would make a list of twenty prospects. Second, 
he agreed he would start working the list at nine in the 
morning, would work it till .five in the afternoon, or 
until he had seen all his prospects. Third, he agreed that 
he would plan what he was going to saybefore He called. 


Fourth, he agreed to ask every prospect to buy. Fifth, 
he agreed to write out a report for the boss every night— 
a complete report. 

You see, there is nothing these men agreed to do that 
a salesman isn't supposed to do in the course of every 
day's work, but such points of selling are so simple and 
so fundamental they often are overlooked. The wise sales 
manager knew this. He also knew that of all the factors 
which make a salesman successful, most important of all 
is to have a plentiful supply of prospects, live prospects, 
logical prospects. 

The men agreed to give this "shock-troop" duty a 
thirty-day trial. 

"We'll see what happens then," the boss told them, "and 
base future actions on the results of this test." 

Thirty days passed. The men were getting along so 
well they asked to have the time extended to ninety days. 
At the end of ninety days they were so enthusiastic over 
results, they petitioned that the plan become permanent. 

By the end of the firstly ear the company's sales had 
increased 90 gerj^entjn dollar volume, 227 per cent in 
number of transactions— this at a time when business was 
not booming, when other firms in the same line were hav- 
ing a hard time to maintain their last year's volume. 

This illustration proves what business leaders have 
known for a long time— that there is nothing so vital in 
business asjprospects. 

Once a friend disputed me when I made that statement 
in his presence. 

"Why don't you say customers instead of prospects?" 



he asked. "I could agree with you then, but I can't when 
you put prospects ahead of customers." 

After I had explained my viewpoint he agreed with me 
readily. For I told him that in my opinion it was more 
important to have prospects than customers because: A 
firm with customers, of course, is lucky, but unless it keeps 
adding to its customer-list from month to month it will 
soon have no customers. One intelligent business counselor 
discovered that any firm, regar^ess_o£size ^ or prosperity, 
which does nothing toward adding customers regularly 
and systematically will be out of business in less than seven 
years. It is estimated that the yearly turnover of customers 
is i^percent. Multiply that by seven and you will see that 
this counselor's reasoning and arithmetic are both sound. 

A firm that keeps prospects uppermost in mind, how- 
ever, looks high and low for them, and does its best to 
convert them into customers will never run the risk of 
being out of business because it lacks customers. Such a 
firm will always have customers enough— provided it keeps 
far enough ahead of itself in prospects. 

There is a basic law governing this important phase of a 
salesman's career. It is a simple but exact law and runs like 
this(T?very year every salesman must try to get as many 
new customers as he has old customers. 

Suppose a certain salesman has three hundred custom- 
ers; persons to whom he sells regularly enough to refer to 
them proudly as "my customers." Each year it is his duty 
to try to get three hundred new customers. He will not 
succeed in getting a full three hundred, probably. Nor will 
he lose every one of his three hundred old customers. Some 



new customers he will unquestionably gain; some old cus- 
tomers he will unquestionably lose. The new customers 
he gains will offset the loss of old customers and will leave 
him with some new customers to the good. If he follows 
through on this program year after year, always trying 
to double his customer-list, he is certain to increase his 
business and insure his future. 

A far older law than the one I have just given for 
guaranteeing a salesman's existence and success, a law 
which, to my knowledge, has never let a salesman down 
is called the Law of Averages. You have heard of this law 
many times. It is the sheet anchor of salesmanship and 
selling success. 

All a salesman has to do is to see enough people— the 
right people of course— stand in their presence, tell his 
story, ask for an order, and he cannot help selling more. 

The head of a firm in Australia decided to put this law, 
which came to him highly recommended, to a test. He 
hired a group of inexperienced salesmen, coached them 
until they could tell their story well enough to get one 
order for every ten calls, put them out on a twenty-call 
daily schedule. Then he waited to see what would happen. 

In 1 17 days, the salesmen had made 8601 calls, 20.9 calls 
per day. They had obtained 802 orders, 10.7 calls per order. 
The best salesman of the lot worked 115 days, made 2502 
calls (21.8 a day), got 299 orders, 8.3 calls per order. The 
curious thing about the experiment is that every salesman 
made good and, consequently, the firm's orders went up 
50 per cent. 

Some_firms set hard and fast prospect-finding programs 



their salesmen must follow._One of the most successful 
organizations I have known insists that each salesman main- 
tain a backlog of one hundred prospects. As soon as a 
salesman calls on ten of his one hundred prospects, he must 
replace them with ten new names, so that all the time, 
every day of his selling life, he has one hundred prospects 
ahead of him. 

I asked the sales manager of that concern just what this 
program had done for his firm. 

"It has not only increased our sales," he replied, "but 
has given our men a feeling of security and confidence 
that they never had before." 

"Then you'd almost be willing to say that a plentiful 
supply of good prospects is one of the most important 
things a salesman can have, wouldn't you?" I asked. 

"I'd go farther," he replied. "I'd call it the most impor- 
tant single thing in a salesman's life." 

While many salesmen will agree with everything I am 
saying, I know some of them will add this reservation: "It's 
all very well to talk about prospects and keeping a supply 
of them on hand and all that, but I have saturated my mar- 
ket. I couldn't find another prospect if my life depended 
upon k.3 

Whenever salesmen say that, I tell them about a sales 
manager for a large investment house in New York City 
some years ago. Often his salesmen would tell him that 
same story. He would listen courteously and then say to 
the complainer: 

"Come over here, will you?" 

He would lead the salesman to the window and show 



him the stream of people walking up and down Wall 

"What do you see?" he would ask. 

"People." * 

"Is that all?" 

"Why, yes. What else is there to see?" 

Then the sales manager would say to the salesman: "You 
don't see people at all. You see prospects. Somewhere 
among these prospects are many men and women who 
will buy your investments if you only give them a chance. 
The trouble is you don't know who they are and haven't 
talked to them about our business. Do you see what I am 
driving at?" 

"I'll say I do!" the salesman would invariably exclaim. 
He would leave the office with a new conception of his 
business and the prospects he could see. 

Another great sales manager used a similar plan in point- 
ing out the truism that there are always more prospects 
than can be called upon, if only a salesman knows how and 
when and where to look. Occasionally one of his salesmen 
would come in and say that his territory was no longer any 
good (which is the same as saying it held no more pros- 
pects) . 

The sales manager would ask: "Do you want another 
territory? Is that it?" 

"That's it. I think I can do better in a territory that 
hasn't been worked so hard as this one is. Mine's worked 


"I see. Well, we can fix that up." 
"You can? Say, that's just fine!' 



"But before you take over a new territory," the sales 
manager would say, "there is one thing I want you to do. 
I want you to take a map and some tacks and make a pros- 
pect analysis for your successor. Take your time and do it 
thoroughly. Spot every prospect with those red pins." 

Before long the sales manager could depend upon the 
salesman's returning and telling him: "I guess I was a little 
ahead of myself when I asked for another territory." 

You see, there are plenty of prospects if a man knows 
where they are, who they are, and how he can tell a pros- 
pect when he sees one. 

Since prospects are the most important thing in every 
salesman's life, it follows that just about the most important 
job in every salesman's life is that of finding and recog- 
nizing prospects. 

No salesman ever fails to get more business if he keeps 
a plentiful supply of good prospects ahead of him all the 
time; if he spends some time each day looking for pros- 
pects, and if he perfects his knowledge of how to detect 
a prospect. For the starting-point of every sale that was 
ever made is always a name on the salesman's prospect list. 
And the rule is, the more prospects the more sales. 

Keep in mind always that of all the duties a salesman has 
to perform this duty of finding prospects is his most impor- 
tant—his most profitable— and that time spent in prospect- 
finding is the best time-investment a salesman can make. 



The favorite story of a celebrated New York City news- 
paper editor concerned a cub reporter who later became a 
celebrated American man of letters. As the New York 
editor told the story this is what happened: 

One of his colleagues in Cincinnati was leaning back in 
his editorial chair one afternoon waiting for something to 
happen. All that happened was that an under-sized, timid, 
half -blind boy approached. He was looking for a job. 

The editor laughed to himself behind his stern face. He 
wanted men working on his paper, not sickly boys. But 
he told the boy to sit down for a while and wait. Just then 
one of the leg men of the paper entered excitedly, to an- 
nounce that the whole town seemed to be burning down. 
In the confusion the editor forgot all about his caller. He 
sent his reporters out to cover the fire, gave assignments 
right and left. It was half an hour before he had a chance to 
look up. But when he did there sat the little stranger, blink- 
ing behind his thick glasses. 

"Here, you," he said, impatiently, "if you want to work, 
get out and see what you can write about this fire!" 

The boy groped for the door. 

The new reporter returned when the paper was about 



ready for the press, long after the fire had been brought 
under control. He sat down at a battered old deal table and 
started writing with a heavy black pencil. He wrote rap- 
idly. The editor stood over him, and picked up the sheets 
as they came from under the writer's hand. 

He read them. They were wonderful. The boy had 
hardly one eye, but in his brain was a bright and vivid 
imagination that pictured the fire as a monster devouring 
everything. The editor hired him on the spot and the boy 
advanced rapidly. His name was to become famous, for he 
was Laf cadio Hearn, brilliant essayist and stylist. 

When he told the story in later years, the editor would 
always conclude his tale with an expression for which he 
was famous. 

"You never can tell," he would assure his listeners, 
"when you are going to meet an angel." 

A similar statement can be made about prospects— you 
never can tell when you are going to meet one. 

No man ever became so skilled in determining who his 
prospects were that he has been able to call on everyone. 
The best any salesman can do is to regard everybody as an 
"angel," and try his level best to make a sale. Good sales- 
men are never afraid to "waste" a sales presentation; they 
know that a sale is unpredictable^ The attitude of good 
salesmen on this subject was expressed succinctly to me by 
a salesman who had vainly tried to make me buy his prod- 
uct. He was philosophical about my refusal. Said he: 
"Well, it didn't hurt to ask, did it?" And I had to say no, 
that it did not. 

But a salesman obviously has not the time to go around 

[ 9 ] 


asking everybody to buy, because that is too ineffective a 
way to winnow out the prospects|TTime in every salesman's 
life is a fleeting, valuable commodity^ The salesman has 
therefore to devise or adapt a way that separates prospects 
from non-prospects and thus saves him his most valuable 
asset— time. 

Some sales authorities classify people to aid their sales- 
men. They put them into three classes; namely, suspects, 
expects 2 prospects. A suspect is a person who is suspected 
of representing the qualities and abilities that go to make up 
a prospect. An expect is a person of a slightly higher grade: 
the salesman is almost sure he is a prospect. And a prospect 
is the highest grade next to a customer— he has all the ear- 
marks of a man who can and will buy. He is the type of 
man the salesman seeks. 

The skill of a salesman in separating the suspects and 
expects from the prospects really determines his success, 
because no matter how effective a man may be in selling, he 
will fail if he spends too much of his time talking to people 
who cannot or will not buy. 

The first method good salesmen follow in determining 
prospects is known as selective prospecting. 

Everything that is sold is sold because it has certain quali- 
ties or advantages which appeal to certain types of people. 
Who are these people? What type people are they? A good 
salesman always asks himself these questions before he 
starts out to call. 

One sales executive I know finds that the most effective 
way to engage in selective prospecting is to make a study 
of his present customers and "type" them. He wants to find 



out what type prospects have purchased his product— their 
age, income status, special interests. He studies the cus- 
tomer-list to find answers to these questions. Then he asks 
himself what other types of people could also be reached. 
His study reveals the answer to that question also. 

Selective prospecting narrows the prospects down to 
preferred localities, ages, income groups, nationalities, oc- 
cupations, so that a salesman can tell where he should spend 
his time with the best possibilities for making sales. 

Another method of finding prospects is the ageless 
method known as canvassifig. Salesmen often refer to this 
as "barking your shins," I suppose because you very often 
run into rebuffs and refusals to buy. A canvassing salesman 
assumes that everybody is a prospect until proved other- 
wise. So, he goes out and calls indiscriminately, working a 
city block house by house, or an office building office by 
office, a farm district farm by farm, being turned down 
more often than he makes a sale but selling enough by this 
method to make canvassing, on some propositions, profit- 

There is no doubt that canvassing or making what sales- 
men call "cold turkey" calls is still one of the foundation 
stones of selling. There are some types of products or 
services, as I have said, that lend themselves to this kind of 
selling and can be profitably sold by it. Others do not and 
cannot be sold by canvassing. But keep in mind this method 
of finding prospects. 

(tailing on prospects "cold" may not be the most effec- 
tive way to make sales, but it is one of the best ways to 
make salesmen! And whenever a salesman who is working 

[ii ] 


for me complains that he is going stale, I advise him to see 
three, five, ten new people every day; just barge in on them 
and make his presentation. This is a practice in which even 
the best salesmen should indulge occasionally. It keeps a 
salesman from losing the selling touch, from abandoning 
the spirit of adventure #very great salesman must h^ 

Much more^effective than cold canvassing is a method 
used by many top-notch life insurance salesmen— the quali- 
fying or fact-finding inn 

: ha-^ur-pos6^fthis interview is not to make a sale— it is 
to make a prospect. A salesman using the fact-finding inter- 
view tells the prospect frankly that he is not there to make 
a sale and won't even talk business. He just wants, he states, 
to become acquainted. 

His call is on a basis of friendship. The restraint present 
when a salesman first calls on a prospect to attempt a sale 
is entirely absent. The men meet on a ground of fellowship 
and understanding. If in the discussion the salesman decides 
he can be of service to the man, in other words, if he de- 
cides that the man is a prospect, he asks for a future appoint- 
ment. Because he was able to see his man on friendly 
terms by a straightforward discussion, getting an appoint- 
ment is usually a simple matter. 

National Cash Register salesmen, trained under the fa- 
mous and effective plan originated by the late John H. 
Patterson, were required to make several preliminary calls 
before they attempted to talk business with their prospect. 
During these calls the salesman made a study of the pros- 
pect's business, store layout, and other factors. The sales- 
man made an appointment to present his product when he 


decided that he could help his man in the man's problem. 
He did not make an appointment before he had decided 

In this plan there is danger that the salesman in his 
zeal to make a sale may defeat his purpose by attempting a 
sale after promising his prospect that he would not do this. 

A psychologist was telling me he had had such an ex- 
perience with this situation not long ago. 

"One morning this salesman, selling insurance, called me 
over the telephone in my reception room," he told me. 
"He said he wasn't going to try to sell me any insurance; 
all he wanted was ten minutes of my time to explain a 
brand new policy his company had developed especially 
for men like me. 

"But when he got into my office, he did try to sell me 
some insurance, he didn't leave in ten minutes, and the 
brand new policy wasn't developed especially for men like 

"Obviously, we can't win anyone's confidence with 
careless statements that we ourselves don't believe." 

With this man's warning taken into consideration, the 
salesman can use these fact-finding interviews as an effec- 
tive way to unearth prospects. 

A nother method is that pf the p lan of qualifying the 
prospect first. ~~ 

This method has been used for years, and some sales 
authorities hold that it is the only method a salesman should 
follow. It saves time. The proponents of this plan say that 
it also puts a salesman in the presence of good prospects 
quicker than any other method. 



About twenty years ago a firm of investment bankers 
from Minneapolis developed a nationwide selling organi- 
zation which sold securities to hundreds of thousands of 
Americans who never knew what a security looked like 
before these qualities salesmen got hold of them. That the 
method of this firm was sound there is no doubt. It was 
built entirely around the basic principle of qualifying the 

Salesmen for the Minneapolis bankers were taught not 
to talk to a man who did not qualify whole-heartedly as a 
prospect. When the salesman called his first words were: 

"Mr. Woodworth, if I can show you how you can earn 
from eight to ten per cent on your money, do you have 
several hundred dollars you can invest— without consulting 
anyone else about the matter?''' 

Please note that phrase, "without consulting anyone 
else." It is the crux of this whole selling method. It is the 
qualifying phrase. If you had the money but had to consult 
your mother-in-law before investing it, the salesman would 
flatly refuse to go on. If you didn't have the several hun- 
dred dollars needed to qualify, he would flatly refuse to go 
on. Only when you had both the money and the executive 
authority were you a good prospect. Then he would make 
his presentation. Otherwise, he would bundle up his selling 
paraphernalia and look for someone else. 

A book salesman I know asks a series of questions effec- 
tive in qualifying his prospects. 

First he asks: "If I send you a set of books will you 
open them?" 




"Will you read them?" 


"If they are something you believe will help you, will 
you buy them?" 


That is a typical qualifying interview. It has been used 
by a large book-selling firm for years by a large force of 
salesmen. These salesmen are under orders not to talk to a 
prospect if he answers a single one of their questions in 
the negative. The organization has found from long experi- 
ence that the salesman saves his time by refusing to talk to 
unlikely prospects. 

An insurance man is more adroit with his qualifying 
questions but just as dogmatic in using them to determine 
whether a prospect is a prospect or merely a suspect. 

First question he asks is: "Have you ever made up a 
budget of what your family's cash needs would be if you 
were to die?" 

He waits for an answer. 

"Would you like to examine such a budget, made up to 
fit your exact needs?" 

Again he waits. 

"If the plan suits you, will you put it in force through 

The prospect must answer yes. 

The salesman is safe in assuming that a man who says 
"Yes" to all these questions is a prospect, sincerely inter- 
ested in what the salesman is selling. Talking to such a man 
is not a waste of time. 

But even the best and most careful systems of qualifying 



prospects often fail to reveal where the prospects are and 
cause the salesman to overlook many prospects who might 
become his best customers. 

To his shame every salesman will admit when he has 
"missed the boat" because he misjudged the prospect's 
ability to buy, his ability to pay, or his ability to become 
interested in what the salesman was trying to sell. 

One great sales manager has said that prejudgment of 
prospects is the bane of good salesmanship the world over, 
the one besetting sin a salesman can confess. Once, when he 
was sales head fqr a wholesale drug house, this man took on 
a line of $10 shaving brushes. He himself found it easy 
to become enthusiastic about these brushes. At the sales 
meeting he presented the brushes to his men. There was no 
enthusiasm there. But he instructed the men to try to sell 
those $10 brushes. With reservations they went out. A 
typical sales presentation they made ran something like 

"Ed, did you ever hear of a bird who was nutty enough 
to pay ten bucks for a shaving brush? You don't have any 
nuts like that in your town, do you, Ed?" 

"Ten dollars for a shaving brush!" exclaimed the dealer. 
"I should say not. I've got a line here at a dollar that's good 
enough for any man." 

"You wouldn't like to take a look at these ten-dollar 
brushes, would you?" 

"It would just waste my time and yours." 

"That's what I thought you would say," responded the 
relieved salesman. 



The next Saturday at the sales meeting all the salesmen 
reported failure. 

"Nobody can sell f 10 shaving brushes in my territory," 
each salesman declared. But the sales manager wasn't an 
easy man to put off. He wagered he could take those 
brushes out the next week and sell three dealers out of five. 
He did what he said he could do. And he reported to his 
men that it didn't take hard selling at all. His method was 
that of qualifying the prospect by saying something like 
this: "I presume that among your customers you have a 
few men who will appreciate the best and can afford to 
pay for it. Am I right?" 

Every dealer would have to admit, if only to save his 
pride, that he had a few such customers— the broker who 
lives in the big house on the hill, the manufacturer with 
the three cars in his garage, and others like them. 

"Then you want to have some merchandise in your store 
which will appeal to these men when they come in, 
won't you?" the sales manager asked. 


It was perfectly natural, perfectly logical then for him 
to present his line of expensive shaving brushes. Making 
sales to three dealers in five became a fairly simple matter. 

What happened to the salesmen is simple enough: be- 
cause they personally could not pay $10 for a shaving 
brush, they concluded that no one else could, although 
there were hundreds of prospects who were willing to 
buy such an expensive item. As a matter of fact, the brushes 
became firmly established, and are still being bought by 



men who don't see anything unusual in investing $10 in 
a necessary daily piece of equipment. But the salesmen, 
because they carried preconceived notions about the pros- 
pects, resisted the sale of that product in their own minds 
until a man with no such limiting ideas convinced them 
that such an item could be sold. 

A cigar salesman calling on a hotel owner in Montana 
learned the folly of prejudgment. New to the territory, this 
cigar salesman sized up the hotel keeper as a man who 
would be interested, say, in $5 worth of five-cent cigars. 
He based his presentation upon that belief. 

The hotel manager, however, stopped him in the middle 
of his sales talk by inquiring: "Have you any dollar 

"Why, of course, of course, but—" 

"You just leave the 'buts' to me," said the hotel man. 
"Let me see your dollar cigars." 

After examining them, the prospect said: "Have 5000 of 
those cigars sent to me right away." 

It never pays to prejudge a prospect; it always pays to 
assume a prospect can buy as much as you are able to sell 
him. It never pays to overlook a prospect— the salesman 
who never overlooks a bet, who keeps calling, is the sales- 
man who turns in the fat orders and breaks sales records. 

The first rule for finding prospects is to learn how to 
recognize one when you meet him, and then to start look- 
ing everywhere for more prospects. The quest for pros- 
pects is one of the most enthralling jobs in the world, but 
some salesmen make it a dull sort of routine by refusing to 



recognize that there are prospects everywhere for the 
man who knows how, and where, to look. 

The only safe rule is the one I quoted the New York 
City editor as quoting over and over again. You will rec- 
ollect that his favorite expression was: "You never can 
tell when you are going to meet an angel." 

A salesman who really wants to make the most out of 
every selling day can paraphrase that to read: "You never 
can tell when you are going to meet a prospect," and have 
a rule of life that will never, never let him down. 



The president of a manufacturing company recently 
called in his department heads, told them he wanted to 
discuss the problem of expanding the company's markets. 

There was a good deal of discussion and many sugges- 
tions were made, some of them good, before the president 

"But, gentlemen, you are all going too far afield. I 
want to know how we can increase our sales without 
doubling our advertising, changing our distribution setup, 
or doing any of the intricate things you have recom- 

"These suggestions are all very well, but what I want to 
know is how we can add 25 per cent to this company's 
volume in the next twelve months, in the simplest, the 
easiest, and the quickest, and least-expensive way," he 

There was complete silence. 

This silence was broken by the president himself when 
he asked: "Why don't we have a customer-finder for this 

"Customer-finder?" reiterated the general manager. He 
was perplexed by the question and the term. 



"Yes. One man in charge of finding customers." 

"Why, why, we all do some of that work, you know." 

"Yes, and because no one man was charged with the 
responsibility for this important task," the president as- 
serted, "we have been stepping right over the most likely 
sources of new business day after day. We will create a 
new office in this organization, hire the best man we can 
find to fill it. He will have the title of Customer-finder. 
His job will be to find new customers." 

The right man was found and set at the important task. 
He set to work earnestly in ways well known to all sales- 
men, looking for prospects. He scanned directories and 
mailing-lists. He went back in the company's records and 
sought the names of former customers who had quit buy- 
ing from the firm. He used his imagination to conceive new 
uses for the products and the new fields which these new 
uses would enable the firm to enter. He spent all his time 
just working on this one problem, finding customers. 

During the first year that plan was in operation, sales 
increased 45 per cent. But that was only the beginning. In 
three years' time the volume doubled, profits trebled— be- 
cause somebody had charge of finding customers. 

I have never seen a firm or a salesman which did not 
increase sales by going on a customer-finding basis. 

A baker whom I advised to start such a program when 
he was in the doldrums showed an increase in sales of 2 1 
per cent in six months; an automotive specialty manufac- 
turer increased 44 per cent the first year; a bottler, 50 per 
cent. And I have watched individual salesmen double their 
business— by going on this customer-finding basis. 



You have read a good deal about market analysis and are 
perhaps a little bit afraid of the words. They do sound 
formidable, when you read that General Motors has ap- 
propriated several million dollars for market analysis, when 
you hear of other analyses costing tremendous sums. But 
no salesman need fear market analysis on that account. For 
any salesman who is ambitious can undertake a market 
analysis of his territory or route. It won't cost any money; 
only a little time and thought. It will pay him greater 
dividends than almost anything else he can do in his selling 

As an example of the kind of market analysis I have in 
mind consider this: One of the leading executives in the 
radio industry drove his car into the Cadillac agency for 
service. There he was approached by a young Negro. 
Doffing his hat, the Negro said: 

"Fse out of work, boss. I can chauffeur. Do you want 
a chauffeur?" 

"Why did you come to a Cadillac station to ask that 
question?" the executive inquired. 

"It just seemed the right place to come, sir. People who 
have Cadillacs have money and need chauffeurs." 

He handed the executive a card on which were given his 
name, address, previous employment record, his qualifica- 
tions to do several kinds of jobs, his telephone number, and 
a request to get in touch with him. 

Three days later the executive called the number on the 
card, one of his friends having decided to hire the sales- 
minded chauffeur. But somebody else had already hired 
him. His market analysis had done the job. 



"He had taken the first step in intelligent market analy- 
sis," the radio executive told me in recounting the story. 
"He had tried to go where his kind of prospects would be. 
He had taken the second step also— he had asked for an 

All the market analysis a salesman needs is often this 
simple kind. He has to ask only four questions to his sat- 
isfaction. These are the questions: 

i. Has the prospect the MONEY or can he get it? 

2. Has he the AUTHORITY to buy? 

3. Is he in EARNEST? 

4. Will he buy NOW? 

VJjLa salesman gets yes-answers to these four points, he is 
working his territory in an intelligent way and will save 
his time. But I know a good many salesmen who never 
take these four points into consideration at all. They talk 
to prospects who haven't the money to buy, talk to buyers 
who haven't the authority to buy, talk to buyers who are 
too timid to turn them down or who just want to hear the 
salesman talk. 

Th e chief ph flsp of fV t™ r Ht analysis naturally. ejp,n- 
cerns the money question, for the buyer's ability to buy is 
something which must be present in every sale. For that 
reason a salesman must sales-manage his territory; this is 
one of his most important jobs. 

"Go where the money is," is one of the first rules of 

Wise salesmen do not waste time on groups which are 
not "in the money" at a particular time, but like the buffalo 
on the Western plains who went where the grass was 



good— they "f oiler the feed," as the buffalo hunters used to 
say, and look for markets where there is money. 

Here are some examples of how this sales management 
has worked out. 

A washing machine company decided that its ordinary 
market was slipping away; people who formerly bought its 
machines were not at that time very heavily employed. It 
was a time of depression. The sales manager had to find 
another market. Where? He directed his effort to prospects 
who in good times had better than average incomes, who 
in those times could afford to send their laundry out. When 
the pinch came they had to retrench somewhere, so they 
started doing their own washing. Such prospects bought 
the machine because it would cut laundry costs. 

A refrigerator company discovered that its great market 
during one year was the low-income market, made up of 
families living on $i 200 a year. Other manufacturers -over- 
looked this market, went after the more saturated market 
of higher income families. But this manufacturer set out 
deliberately to capture the lowest income group in the 
community. By designing an inexpensive product for this 
market, he rode to success in a year when his competitors 
found the going hard. He sales-managed his market. Any 
salesman must do likewise to make the most of his op- 

It is just as hazardous to prejudge markets as to prejudge 
prospects. Markets change. People who have money at one 
time have little money a few years later, and some people 
who have never had money enough to buy certain prod- 
ucts, by a shift in conditions, become prospects. During 
the war, for example, you witnessed this shift in the dis- 



tribution of wealth. So-called white collar workers, en- 
joying comfortable positions and peacetime incomes, 
found that their incomes became no larger, while living 
costs and taxes soared. They lost their potentialities as 
being good prospects when the economic winds shifted 
and left them becalmed. 

On the other hand, there were millions of American 
families who were benefited by the war— the factory work- 
ers who a few years before were on the unemployment 
rolls and who were now "in the money" with their large 
weekly pay checks. 

These shifts in the economic weather are taking place 
all the time, and it is every salesman's job to keep up with 
them, so that he can always do his selling in the market 
most favorable to his goods at a particular time. 

The salesman who is skilled in getting information 
about people has no trouble in making more sales, because 
prospecting is one of the most important things a salesman 

Some salesmen by nature seem better fitted than others 
to do prospecting; they are the men who would be news- 
paper reporters or investigators if opportunity or circum- 
stances hadn't made salesmen of them. Indeed, the re- 
porter's "nose for news " is about the most valuable at- 
tribute a salesman can have. 

There is a small town merchant I have read about, for 
example, who operates much the same as the editor of a 
paper. Instead of having correspondents in different com- 
munities as the editor does, this merchant appoints repre- 
sentatives he calls "selling scouts." These scouts visit around 
their neighborhoods, make note of the condition of the 

r 25 ] 



carpet on the floor, the paint on the barn, see whether there 
is a radio or a refrigerator, and what condition the sepa- 
rator is in. 

They transmit such bits of information to their mer- 

Later when the farmer goes to town to buy some things 
he needs, the merchant and his salesmen rapidly run over 
the prospect card for the farmer, discover he needs a new 
living-room rug, is trying to get by with an ancient radio, 
and that his barn needs re-painting. Armed with that in- 
formation, they adroitly go to work on the prospect and 
by means of suggestions make many sales. 

I do not need to tell you that this method is effective. 
I have been told that the merchant does more business per 
capita in his thinly settled section than large stores do in 
their great metropolitan areas. The secret lies, first, in find- 
ing prospects; second, in finding out what they can and 
should buy, and, third, in using that information in making 
the sale. That's a simple procedure, isn't it? 

The salesman who will apply the technique of market 
analysis to his job will find four big fields of prospects 
waiting for him. 

The four are: 

i. NEW PROSPECTS-Since no salesman can claim 
that he covers his territory ioo per cent, there is always 
room for the quest of new prospects. The salesman must 
look high and low for them, must be able to recognize 
them when he finds them in strange and outlandish places, 
be eager and alert to unearth prospects wherever he may 



be. He must overlook no bets. He must suspect every hu- 
man being of having the qualities of a prospect for his 
product or service. 

2. OLD CUSTOMERS-There are hundreds of 
former customers, now inactive, on the books of every 
salesman or firm. Usually all they are waiting for is an 
invitation to come back and buy. Some of them undoubt- 

dly feel slighted or hurt. It's the salesman's job to go to 
them, find out what is wrong, correct it, get the inactives 
back on the active list. It is just as important, you see, to 
revive an inactive customer as to find a new one. 

3. LOST CUSTOMERS-The average turnover of 
customers is heavy, as you probably know. Many of these 
lost customers can be reclaimed if somebody is interested 
in the job. Reclaiming lost customers is really an interesting 
and profitable branch of the salesman's work. If somebody 
were to invite them back, many of these lost customers 
would become good customers again. They are just wait- 
ing for an invitation. 


If you can find new uses for your product or new prod- 
ucts you can sell to your present market, you will have a 
lively market among the present customers on your list. It 
is always easier to sell more to a present cus tomer thanto 
sell^solneTihmj^t o a new -customer. In spite of this, many 
salesmen ignore the opportunities of making more sales to 
present customers. Always they ignore this opportunity to 
their loss. 



The salesman who sets out to find all the prospects in 
his market has a man-sized, full-time job on his hands, but 
he won't mind doing that job because it will probably pay 
him more money, hour for hour, than anything else he 
can possibly do. 

I have always thought that the best guide he can follow 
in undertaking the job is one which a century-old whole- 
sale firm in New York City follows. 

A reporter asked the president of this firm to outline a 
guiding rule the firm had followed in building its success 
year after year. 

"We do have such a rule," the president said. "It is a 
simple rule but it must be a good one, because it has 
worked, as you know, for over a century. It has kept us 
young, alert, and up on our toes. If you will look behind 
you, you will find this rule hanging on the wall." 

The reporter turned and saw, framed and under glass, 
these four word's^ ^~ 

^^^i^^K^G^J^J^K^D WORK3 

Explained the president: "Imagination" we need, for 
without imagination we wouldn't know where the busi- 
ness is. Hard work we also need to get the business after 
we determine where to look for it. So, you see, that one 
rule covers everything. It gives us a pattern we follow 
day in and day out." 

It would cover everything a salesman needs in getting 
the prospects in his territory also— "IMAGINATION 



A topnotch salesman in Los Angeles was a gold pros- 
pector before he went into business. For years he had 
searched for gold on the Mojave Desert. That was a strange 
background for a selling career, but this man made a great 
success immediately. The chief reason for his success was 
undoubtedly resourcefulness in finding new business— he 
could go out and get orders in a place where his boss 
wouldn't have dreamed there were orders. It amounted al- 
most to genius, the way this salesman created sales. 

He was once asked why he had become so successful. 

"It's easy," he responded. "All I do is practice the 
same things on a market that I used to practice on the 

"Meaning what?" 

"You know we prospectors have a saying: Gold is where 
you find it. That means that you have to suspect gold is 
everywhere, and to look for it everywhere. You may be 
sure in your own mind that there is no gold in a certain 
mountain. A good prospector looks for it there anyway. 
That is how some of the great gold discoveries have been 

"When I started selling, with no other training than that 
of a prospector, I had to rely on my past experience to 



help me out. So, I just became a business prospector in- 
stead of a gold prospector. I looked for business every- 
where. I guess I looked for it in some places which a more 
experienced man would have passed by. But my plan seems 
to have worked out all right." 

Wherever you find a salesman who is outstandingly suc- 
cessful, you will find a salesman, who, whether he knows 
it or not, uses the gold prospector's system— who looks 
everywhere for prospects and finds them in places that 
other salesmen overlook. 

Some authorities refer to this kind of selling as creative 
salesmanship; creating sales out of all sorts of conditions 
and markets. A better. name for it would be intelligent 
customer-finding. As has been stated before, it is every 
salesman's vital job every day of his life. 

There are a good many ways .of going about the job 
and they are all good ways, provided they result in keep- 
ing the salesman bountifully supplied with good prospects. 

There is one salesman I know, an excellent man, who 
for years has followed through on a methodical plan of 
creating prospects. This is his plan. He takes twelve sheets 
of paper, writes a different heading on each, and then 
writes the names of twenty prospects under each heading; 
the names of twenty persons whom the heading itself sug- 
gests. Thus he has the names of 240 logical prospects. 

The twelve classifications as this man writes them at the 
top of his sheets are as follows: 

1. WHO do I know from my old job? 

2. WHO do I know connected with a school I at- 



3. WHO do I know because of a certain hobby? 

4. WHO do I know because of my contacts through 
public or charitable interests? 

5. WHO do I know because I own my home or rent? 

6. WHO do I know because I live or have lived in a 
certain neighborhood? 

7. WHO do I know because I drive a car? 

8. WHO do I know because of my expenditures? 

9. WHO do I know because of my children? 

10. WHO do I know because of my church ac- 

1 1 . WHO do I know because of my wife's activities? 

12. WHO do I know because of my club associa- 

Another salesman I know tells me that he relies for pros- 
pects upon his contacts. He classifies these contacts as: 

1. ACQUAINTANCE contacts, 

2. INTRODUCTION contacts, / 

3. REFERENCE contacts, 

4. DIRECT INQUIRY contacts, 

5. MAILING PIECE contacts, 

6. ACCIDENTAL contacts, 

7. COLD CANVAS contacts. 

The only danger in a salesman becoming contact-minded 
is that he may become so engrossed in making contacts that 
he becomes a "contact man" only, which is always pleas- 
ant work if you can get it— and make it pay. 

That danger is illustrated by an old story about two 
salesmen who met on a street corner one afternoon. 



Said one: "I sure made some good contacts today." 

Said the other: "I didn't make any sales either." 

The salesman who uses contacts for what they are— raw 
materials out of which sales can be made— will find con- 
tacts of inestimable value, provided they are relevant con- 
tacts. By relevant contacts I mean, of course, those which 
are made for the purpose of creating sales. One of the 
rocks on which a good many fine selling careers have been 
smashed is the social contact complex which some salesmen 
so easily develop. Disdainfully referred to a s ioinep ., they 
are the lads who join this or that organization, "for the 
sake of making contacts," and kid themselves into think- 
ing that a contact is an asset. 

One form of contact that is invaluable in finding pros- 
pects and making sales is the plan of making a certain 
number of extra calls every day. 

A veteran salesman wKom I interviewed several years 
ago to find out why he had led his sales force for thirty 
years, astonished me by telling me that all his success rested 
on this plan: "I meet one new prospect every day; one 
extra prospect." 

He explained that every day of his selling life, after his 
day's selling work was done and he had seen everybody he 
thought he could possibly see that day, he went out and 
met one more prospect. 

"Meeting one more man a day may not seem like much 
of an advantage to a salesman," he explained, "but if a 
salesman works 250 days a year and religiously makes one 
new contact each day, he will have 250 new prospects a 
year. That's 2500 in ten years, and if a man is any kind of 



salesman he's bound to get some business from so large a 
number of prospects." 

<~xr Some firms use what is referred t o as the bird d og method 
of finding prospects. Automobile and refrigerator com- 
panies have used this plan extensively. Farm machinery- 
manufacturers have also found it valuable. 

The plan: To engage junior salesmen to work up pros- 
pects which the senior or more experienced salesmen step 
in and close. These junior salesmen— the "bird dogs"— have 
no selling job to do. They just go out and beat the bushes, 
trying to find somebody who might evince an interest in 
a new automobile, a new refrigerator, or a new reaper. 
When they catch a glimmer of interest, they turn the 
name over to the senior salesman. He steps in and tries to 
close the deal. 

These junior salesmen are usually youngsters, just break- 
ing in. Eventually many of them become senior salesmen 
and the firm that engages them has the advantage of putting 
salesmen on the territory after they have served an ap- 
prenticeship in the salesman's most important job— finding 

Some salesmen believe that making many missionary 
calls is a good way to keep in prospects. And so it is. A 
• — "Missionary call is nothing but the fact-finding call which 
I mentioned and recommended in a previous chapter. The 
salesman is not after business when he makes the call: he is 
merely trying to make the acquaintance and win the friend- 
ship of the prospect. 

Of late years the use of missionary salesmen for the pur- 
pose of making missionary calls has passed somewhat out 

n 33 1 


of the picture, forced out by competitive conditions which 
require that every salesman pay his way. During the war, 
however, there were a good many salesmen who, with 
nothing to sell on account of shortages, went out as mis- 
sionary salesmen. They just tried to keep the good-will of 
the customer, against the time the war should end and or- 
ders again be at a premium. As a means of keeping sales- 
men on the pay roll and busy, this plan worked out all 
right. But most firms find that they cannot afford to pay a 
man merely to make friendly contacts, valuable as these al- 
ways are. 

There is one phase of activity which a salesman can 
undertake, however, which will make the plan of mission- 
ary calls pay. It is to devote some of his spare time each 
day to making thenj. Suppose a man were to finish his 
luncrThalF an Hour early and spend that half -hour calling 
on remote prospects or even on suspects. In the course of 
a year such a man would develop quite a list of good pros- 
pects from time that would otherwise be wasted. 

There is another advantage to making these calls quite 
apart from the direct advantage they have of turning up 
good prospects. It is an advantage almost as real as this 
direct advantage, an d consists of keeping a salesman from 
getting into a rut. The best way for a salesman to keep on 
his toes, to keep himself alert and mentally active is to meet 
new faces, new ideas, new situations, and, yes, new re- 
sistances every day. 

Another effective way to get prospects is to use what is 
^ called the Center of Influence plan. 

A center of infiuencT is T merely a person of considerable 

r 34-1 


influence in a group or a community. He knows every- 
body. Everybody knows him. Everybody has confidence 
in him. Therefore his recommendation carries weight. The 
salesman calls on this person, wins his confidence, obtains 
from him the names of others who might be interested 
in what the salesman is selling. In making his approach on 
these persons the salesman uses the name of this influential, 
respected person. 

The first man I worked for after I left college, when he 
sent me out on my first trip on the road, told me: "When 
you reach Cheyenne, I want you to call on the Methodist 
preacher before you see anybody else." 

I was selling investments. Preachers are poor prospects. 
I mentioned this fact to my chief. 

"You probably won't be able to sell the preacher any 
investments," he explained. "That isn't the idea. But you 
will be able to obtain from him information about who 
has money in town. Ask who in his community might 
have funds to invest. Ask him if he would mind your using 
his name when you see these people. Use judgment in 
referring to him when you talk to prospects. If you culti- 
vate the preacher you won't have much trouble in finding 

One of my friends went into a new business, life insur- 
ance, when he was past sixty and has made a fine go of it 
during the past dozen years. When he first called on me, 
a stranger, I did not buy. But as he left, he asked me if I 
had any friends who might be interested in life insurance. 
I told him I hadn't. 

Whenever this man called on me after that, he asked the 



same question: "Do you have a friend who might be inter- 
ested in life insurance?" "Do you know anybody who 
might want such and such type of policy?" Always the 
same answer: "I am sorry but I do not." 

Then one day I asked him: "I really can't see why you 
continue to ask me if I have a friend who might be inter- 
ested in insurance, in view of my telling you no, no, no 
every time. That does not pay out for you, does it? You 
have been seeing me for several years, and I haven't once 
given you a prospect's name." 

"No, you haven't," he replied. "But one of these days 
you will. You might be astonished to know that this plan 
has brought me my best business." 

He explained that he was doing nearly one-half his busi- 
ness with persons suggested by his prospects and customers. 
He wrote his largest policy, $100,000, from a lead sug- 
gested by a prospect to whom he had asked his ubiquitous 

The plan he follows is known in selling parlance as 
-Endless Chain Prospecting, and is one any salesman could 
adopt to his profit. 

It gives people a good deal of satisfaction to be asked for 
advice or a slight favor, and if you suggested that the pros- 
pect tell you of someone else who might be interested, it 
not only reveals many names but also puts you in strong 
with the man who gives you the names. 

Like all other good plans it is good only if it is worked 
consistently. Asking one man in ten for names won't do 
the job for you— but if you ask every one you talk to, 
you may at the end of the year, as did my friend, find that 



over half your business traces to this source of prospects. 

You can use your customers in the same way as a source 
of new customers. Knowing that every one of us likes to 
see his friends buy the same things he has bought, the wise 
salesman always uses one customer as a means of getting 
other customers. 

An insurance man in the South traces the sale of 50 
policies to a $1000 sale he made to a business man. The 
business man, on request, gave the salesman the names of 
five friends. The salesman sold three out of the five. Those 
three likewise gave names. Inside of six months the sales- 
man had fifty customers he could trace to that one small 
sale, and he sold over $300,000 worth of business. Do not 
neglect this plan: use it and let your present customers 
direct you to new customers. 

The method had variations, naturally. One which some 
salesmen employ effectively is to follow through on family 
groups. A salesman selling a household appliance in Saint 
Louis does this very effectively. Whenever he makes a sale, 
he suggests to his customer that she must have relatives in 
town. Usually she has. From one sale he traced 37 addi- 
tional sales to leads of his customer— 29 of these were to her 

The main thing for the salesman to learn is that good 
salesmanship requires opportunities, and that a salesman 
must be willing to look for prospects wherever he is. 

Even retail salesmen can profit by the philosophy that 
you never can tell where you will find a prospect. 

I remember hearing a sales manager illustrate this with a 
story of what happened in a cigar store of which he was in 



charge in New York City. He had a clerk working for him 
and the clerk was an opportunist. He never missed an op- 
portunity to make sales. One day two women went into 
the store, mistaking it for a toy store. Instead of telling 
them of their mistake, this clerk showed them some gro- 
tesque hand-carved pipes from Europe. "Children love 
these," he assured the women. The women were intrigued 
by the little carved figures. Each bought two pipes. That 
was opportunism. The clerk who made the sale did not 
remain a clerk for very many years; he is today vice presi- 
dent of the firm. 

Like the prospector on the Mojave Desert, the sales- 
man's job is to regard every human being as a potential 
prospect for his goods and do his level best to make the 
sale. He must look in very unlikely places for business. He 
must violate all rules, even the rule of good judgment, and 
regard every human being as a potential buyer, This is the 
method the best salesmen follow. This is the way a leading 
soap manufacturer in the South did when he started selling 
soap on the road. He did some astonishing things in his 
territory. Once, for instance, he sent in a whale of an 
order from a cemetery. His boss wanted to know: "What 
under the shining sun would a cemetery do with so much 
soap?" The salesman explained that he had sold the sexton 
the idea of buying soap to wash off the headstones. Another 
time he sold the proprietor of a roller skating rink a larger 
order of soap to use in washing his floor. 

Most salesmen are not, unfortunately for them, such op- 
portunists. They wonder why there are not more prospects 
and why they don't get more than a small per cent of the 



potential business in their territories. The tragedy is that 
the longer a salesman works a territory the less likely he is 
to unearth these easy and unusual sources of sales. 

One man I know at the age of sixty is the most alert and 
aggressive salesman I have ever watched. He is by far the 
most successful and prosperous man in his organization. 
He never lets down for an instant in the co ntinuous q uest 
for prospects. 

In a man of his age and experience in his territory— he 
has been on the same job for 35 years— this is unusual. The 
other night he told me how he did it. Most of his success, 
he says, traces to an aphorism which his mother used to 
repeat to him when he was a small boy. It was her favorite 
proverb and she used it often in discussing to him the 
things he must do to make his mark in the world. The 
proverb is that "a new broom sweeps clean." 

"She always told me that no matter what I did I must 
try to approach it with the same amount of enthusiasm at 
the end of the tenth year as I did at the end of the first 
day," he said. "I didn't pay much attention to her wisdom 
at first, but after a while I would watch salesmen go like 
a house afire their first year, settle down their second, and 
at the end of their third or fourth years bog down into a 
condition of respectable somnolence, and never improve. 

"When I found myself in danger of getting into that 
condition," he continued, "I pondered over the matter for 
several weeks, and decided that my mother's old proverb 
had value. So I worked out a plan, and have followed it 
ever since." 

"What is your plan?" 



"Why, if a man is at his best as a prospect-finder when 
he's new to the job, why isn't it a good idea for a salesman 
to pretend he's new on the job every day. When I go to 
bed every night I imagine I am starting green on the job 
tomorrow morning. I ask myself what I'd do if I were 
actually a green man, where I would look for business, 
what I would do to make the boss notice me. 

"Believe me that keeps me up on my toes," he said. "In 
place of getting into a rut, I'm like a new man trying his 
level best to make good on a new job, eager, seeking sales." 

It is a good idea for any man to follow this plan— to 
imagine he's new and simply has to make good and sell to as 
many prospects as he can. It helps him to get the qualities 
of alertness and opportunism which a good salesman simply 
has to have. 



A salesman walked into the office of a large manufac- 
turer in Detroit. From the moment this salesman spoke, 
the manufacturer said he knew that he was in the presence 
of a master. 

"I also knew that not buying from that man was going 
to be impossible," the manufacturer confessed. 

The salesman was selling an expensive item; one involv- 
ing the investment of hundreds of dollars. He didn't need 
to talk long; only ten or fifteen minutes; he walked out 
with a signed order. 

Before he got away, however, the manufacturer quizzed 
the salesman about his selling methods, wanting to learn 
how any man could develop such flawless skill. 

"It really is not difficult," the salesman said. "The an- 
swer is in planning." 

"What kind of planning?" 

"Unless I plan every call completely beforehand I can- 
not sell," the salesman confessed. "Some men might win 
on catch-as-catch-can methods. I never could. 

"When I go into a town without a planned day's work, 
it is a day lost for me, and for that reason I spend almost 



as much time in planning my work as in working my plan. 
Which is an old play on words, but one that fits." 

The salesman went on to say that before he ever made 
a call he prospected ahead to learn something about the 
customer's business and needs. He found out what kind 
of man the prospect was. He planned what he would say 
in his approach, what he would answer if the prospect said 
he wasn't interested. He planned his closing. No one could 
catch him napping, because he planned every step he took, 
every move he made, every word he uttered. Such a sales- 
man cannot fail. 

And yet how few salesmen will go to the trouble of 
planning beforehand! 

Just a few months ago I worked with two men in Kan- 
sas City. One planned his sales, while the other thought it 
was a silly waste of time to do so. One made a sale. The 
other did not. I do not need to tell you which man is which. 
Before we started out in the morning, the planner spent 
half an hour sorting his cards and making mental notes and 
plans of what he was going to say to certain prospects. I 
sat and watched him. When he got to the prospect he knew 
perfectly well how to handle any situation that came up; 
was adequately prepared. 

After a week of working with this man, I went out with 
the other one. He was the catch-as-catch-can type, rough 
and ready— and unprepared. 

In the morning he didn't "waste" any time, as he put it, 
scrutinizing his prospect cards or rehearsing his sales talk 
or reviewing his plans. He would just take a batch of cards 
and say: 

"Well, let's get going." 



Before we would make a call I would often ask: "What 
are you going to say to this fellow?" 

"How do I know? That depends on what he says to me. 
We won't cross any bridges till we come to them." 

In we would go. Out we would soon come. At the end 
of the day he had sold little, because he refused to plan 
ahead. When I suggested planning to him, he replied: 
"How can you plan a sales talk? You can't control the 
other man's thoughts, can you? You have to adjust your- 
self as you go along, don't you?" 

I neither answered nor argued, knowing it would have 
done no good. 

But I do kn ow this, t hat with out exception t he best sale s- 
men ar e the salesmen wjio pl^ Mavhe one reason whv so 
few salesmen are masters of the art is that they are not 
willing to plan. I read not long ago about a business man 
who had said that of 400 salesmen who called upon him, 
only two impressed him sufficiently to be remembered. 
Two out of 400! One had impressed him by a fluke: he 
had tripped and fallen full-length in front of the tycoon's 
desk, scattering papers everywhere. He was remembered, 
but not for his selling skill. 

The other man was remembered because he had— 
planned. He wrote a letter, telling of a study he had made 
of the prospect's business and asked if he could call to dis- 
cuss what he had discovered. His approach when he called 
was carefully planned too. He made the sale. But the vast 
majority of salesmen are just salesmen, willing to take 
things as they come, serene in their belief that if a man 
is smart he can meet any situation that arises. 

A consulting sales manager of New York City recently 



pointed out that planning has nine advantages for the sales- 

"Planning gives him a quick start by showing him 'where 
he is going, who he is going to see, what he is going to say, 
how he is going to say it," he declared. "Planning then 
organizes his thinking. It helps avoid wasted time, elim- 
inates running around in circles. It enables him to make a 
better presentation, and cuts out waste time between calls. 
It helps close bigger sales quicker, by cutting down on 
useless talking. Planning also forearms the salesman of ma- 
terial he might need in his presentation. Finally, planning 
makes the salesman a better salesman in every way, because 
it enables him to plan tonight and utilize the lessons to- 

The chief bane of the salesman's life is unquestionably 
he quick exit or ease-out. 

All buyers have tricks to get rid of salesmen. Some won't 
let them in. Some come to the railing. Others send out 
word they are in conference and ask the salesman to come 
back later, preferably "the second Tuesday of next week." 
A few let the salesman in and then refuse to look up or 
give him an ear. But what most salesmen fear most is get- 
ting ushered out before they have a chance to tell their 

Planning the approach, planning and knowing exactly 
what you are going to say and do, is one of the best meth- 
ods for a salesman to follow in avoiding the quick ease-out. 
A planned approach is valuable in every call. 

The salesman who equips himself with some knowledge 
of the prospect and the prospect's problems and who then 



plans his approach so that this knowledge comes out dur- 
ing the first few seconds, touches a live nerve and gets at- 
tention. One salesman I know, for instance, had tried 
vainly to get in to talk to a big, busy, pompous banker. He 
had got as far as the door on several occasions but no far- 
ther. He decided that the situation called for planning. 
He planned. 

He learned that the banker had a son at Yale, learned 
that the son was an athlete, learned that the son was the 
pride of the father's life. He called and said: "I have called 
to talk to you about your boy at Yale." 

The prospect couldn't say he was not interested in that. 
He saw the salesman. 

Another salesman scouted a prospect, discovered the 
plant was working overtime because it did not have the 
time-saving device he sold. 

His approach was: "I drove past your place three nights 
in succession. Lights were burning in your bookkeeping 
department each time. I said to myself: 'I could save these 
people up to $200 a month in labor cost, to say nothing of 
lights and other overhead.' I called to show you just how 
I can do that." 

He also got in on the right basis. 

A salesman who will take a little time to find out some- 
thing about the prospect and then will use his facts in the 
right way won't be eased out before he at least has a 
chance to give his story. And getting information about 
prospects is easy— ridiculously easy. 

A big-time salesman explained to me recently how he 
went about it. He has often boasted that he could be set 





down anywhere in the world, given something to sell, and 
that he would be on a self-sustaining basis before night- 
fall. I have always believed he could do it. 

He told me that getting information was merely a mat- 
ter of piecing bits of knowledge together, a process of 
synthesis such as detectives also use. He notices a man 
whose name he knows going into and coming out of a 
certain building. He learns from consulting the directory 
of the building that the man has an office there. He asks 
the elevator pilot if she knows him. If she does, he finds 
out what business the man is in. He has a friend in the 
same business. He learns from the friend how successful 
his prospective prospect is. 

Gradually, by following up all leads he can think of, he 
has a pretty good picture of the kind of man his prospect 
is, has a check on his possible income, some of his interests 
and hobbies. It is all very easy, the salesman told me, if a 
salesman will keep eyes and ears open as he goes through 

The old-time book agent represented the quintessence 
of skill in getting a line on his prospects. He went from 
one house to another, getting information about the folks 
who lived next door, prospecting as he worked the block. 
He learned the husband's occupation, information as to the 
number and ages of the children, interests of the family, 
and other facts that were grist to his selling mill. And when 
he talked to the family he talked as a long-lost friend who 
knew all about them. That old-time book agent was wise: 
he knew that if he didn't have some line on his prospect, 
he'd never get a hearing. 



I heard about a salesman who uses this plan of getting 
information about his prospects and using it in his selling 
in a carefully organized and effective way. In his territory 
are eighteen towns. To get the local angle he subscribes 
to newspapers from all eighteen. 

"Well, I see your basketball team knocked the spots off 
the Larimer Bobcats last Friday," he tells a sports-minded 
prospect. "You elected Ben Lampwing mayor, I see. Good 
man," he tells another. 

Like every other salesman he has found that it pays to 
get personal with his prospects and customers— which is an- 
other way of saying that he has found preparation robs the 
call of uncertaint] 

iteTreliance of the salesman who really wants to make 
the most of his customer is a little plan known as the cus- 
tomer's diary . — 

It was my unpleasant duty not long ago to help clean 
out the desk of a friend who lost his life in an accident; 
a man who was as good a salesman as I ever knew; a man 
whose relations with his customers were as nearly perfect 
as they could be. One of the things we found in his desk 
was a little leather-covered book. On the flyleaf he had 
written: "Customer's Diary" Inside was an account of 
every customer he had, not only the name and address 
but every bit of information about the man the salesman 
could glean. One man liked to hunt, had killed an ante- 
lope in New Mexico the October before— that was noted. 
Another raised carrier pigeons; it was duly written down. 
The third had just had a major operation. Even fragments 
of conversation were jotted down in the book. 



That little book more than almost anything else my 
friend did was the reason why he had been such a great 
salesman—he planned every call he made around the per- 
sonality and interests of his prospects. When he called he 
talked about the subjects they would rather talk about 
than anything else. No wonder he was so popular with 
his customers. No wonder he is so badly missed. 

There is another form of planning which is essential if 
the salesman is to sell. It is the planning that goes on in the 

salesman's mind about the outcome of each interview. 

*~ ■---■ ■ - ■ 

Some salesmen plan for success. Some plan for failure. 
Each usually gets what he plans for. And for that reason 
it is necessary for salesmen to develop what psychologists 
call "success consciousness" and use it before every call. 

Out in California there is a successful corporation presi- 
dent who just a few years ago was a broke, jobless, home- 
less, desperate salesman. "By accident I happened on the 
formula of selling success," he wrote in a national maga- 
zine not long ago. 

His formula is simple: he merely visualizes himself mak- 
ing sales. Before he makes a call he pictures himself in 
the act of closing a deal, and he plans for success before he 
makes a call. 

"Like many another salesman," he wrote, "I formerly 
used to expect failure, not success, and often I got just 
that— failure. But since I have been planning for success, I 
have been amazed at the ease with which I have made my 

"This formula of mine," he continued, "may strike you, 
if you plume yourself that you have what some men call 



a 'practical mind,' as something visionary, metaphysical, 
verging on the impractical in life. But it is my belief that 
the formula is as practical as anything else a salesman can 
adopt. Psychologists will tell you that it is necessary to 
visualize an action beforehand. If you visualize success in 
your actions, you will have success. At least, this is how 
it has worked out for me." 

Just the other day I suggested to a salesman I am inter- 
ested in that he make an important call. I said I thought he 
could get a contract if he would make the call. I had just 
finished telling him of the importance of success planning, 
just as I am telling you about it here. 

He said: "Well, I'll see him if that is what you think I 
ought to do. But I know it won't do any good. I can't sell 

I do not need to tell you, do I, that he did not make the 

The salesman who convinces himself that he will get in 
to see every man he calls on, convinces himself that he will 
make a sale every time he gets in, may not succeed in every 
attempt to see a prospect or in making every sale— but he 
will certainly make a sale more often than the salesman 
who tells himself on the threshold that he isn't going to 

Different salesmen employ different means to go about 
preparing to sell before they call. One great salesman I 
knew always said that whenever he went in to make a call 
he would stop momentarily and ask himself whether he 
would be hurt or downcast if he failed. After assuring 
himself that he would not be, he went in with complete 



confidence. No one would unpoise him then. He had al- 
ready realized in his own mind the effect of the worst 
that could happen to him, and now, expecting the best, he 
went in with supreme self-confidence and happiness. There 
is a lot of good sense to this practice. 

You may put it down as a fact that whenever you see a 
salesman making an outstanding record, you are looking at 
a salesman who planned his calls, who planned what he 
would say and do, who also planned before he called that 
he was going to make a sale. 

For planning is one of the cornerstones of selling success. 



Two salesmen worked for the same firm for years, had 
adjoining desks. One was a plodder. The call reports he 
turned in each week filled the heart of his sales manager 
with joy. The fellow worked! The other man didn't make 
one third as many calls, but he sold far more. The sales 
manager, a believer in the doctrine of hard work, thought 
that if he could get the second salesman to make as many 
calls as the first man, he would have an ideal combination. 

He was always telling his star salesman: "Why don't 
you make more calls? The more calls, the more sales, you 

But Salesman Number Two was a man with his own 
peculiar way of working, and while it is true that or- 
dinarily any salesman can sell more by calling more, there 
is another lesson in selling which is likewise important. It 
is that the quality of the call is just as vital as the quantity 
of calls a salesman makes. 

The second salesman we are dissecting believed in qual- 
ity calls as well as quantity of calls. He was a man who 
planned his work, saw new prospects only when he was 
sure they would be ready to buy, sold larger orders and 
fewer of them but always had a volume of business at the 
end of the year which was good. 



He worked with a minimum of waste motion and time. 

One problem every salesman has is to operate as eco- 
nomically as possible in a vocation which by its very na- 
ture is criminally wasteful of a man's time. 

Perhaps the easiest way to whip this problem of waste 
calls is to classify prospects. I have already alluded to 
this. It is important enough, I think, to stand a little re- 
peating. For I find that not one salesman in ten has any 
idea of the importance of doing this classifying systemati- 
cally and scientifically. 

The classification of customers and prospects need not 
be intricate in any sense. It begins with this fact, that ncrt 
all prospects and customers are worth the same amount of 
time and attention by the salesmen. Some are regular buy- 
ers, some irregular; some large buyers, some small; some are 
prospects who can be converted into customers in a short 
time, some are prospects who may never become cus- 

With engineering precision a salesman can classify his 
customers and prospects into different grades. The simplest 
classification is the orthodox A, B, C, D. The salesman will 
naturally spend more time calling on his A prospects and 
customers, less on B, C, and D. But many salesmen treat 
them all alike, taking them as they come, spending as much 
time on each prospect or customer, regardless of his 
weighted value in sales and profits. 

One salesman classified his customers and prospects and 
made a time study of his selling life. He found he was get- 
ting 80 per cent of his business from 20 per cent of his 
customers. He rearranged his time, classified customers and 



prospects as A, B, C, spent half his time on his A customers 
and prospects, and increased sales 60 per cent during the 
first half year after he made the change. 

When a salesman starts studying his customers and pros- 
pects, he is taking the first step toward cutting down on 
waste calls. He will find some prospects and customers he 
will want to eliminate entirely; others he will want to see 
only occasionally; still others he will find are so impor- 
tant that he will want to spend twice as much time work- 
ing on them as in the past. 

An organization I am familiar with recently changed 
sales managers. The new man's first change was to re- 
classify its customers. Results were astounding. His in- 
structions were that class A customers were to be called 
upon four times as often as class C. For the first year he 
had some of the men drop class C customers entirely and 
concentrate on A and B. Sales increased. The next year he 
permitted salesmen to reclassify their class C prospects, 
which resulted in dropping 20 per cent of them perma- 
^ nently. 

Another ., way -saksm©n--Gut down on wast-e-ealis-is-tte 
preheating method so popular with aggressive sales man- 
agers. One New York concern with a nationwide organ- 
ization of hard-hitting, successful salesmen selling an ex- 
pensive service insists that prospects be preheated twice 
before any call is made. Preheating consists of sending two 
pieces of sales literature three days apart. This system was 
adopted after tests showed it was zjper cent easier to make 
sales when the prospect was preheated than when he was 
called upon cold. 



Salesmen send out advance cards with this same idea in 
mind— preheating the prospects. The cards say pretty much 
the same thing: "I'll be out your way next (date) with a 
new line of fine drapery material. I hope you will save me 
any orders you may have." Some "wisenheimer" salesmen 
pooh-pooh the advance card idea, but the majority of 
good salesmen traveling a regular territory with a staple 
line use it, so it can't be too wasteful. And I know at least 
one salesman who tried operating on one trip without ad- 
vance cards. He found he was always just a day or two too 
late with some of his best customers. This cost him a lot 
of business. He was glad to take the little time necessary to 
address and mail his preheating cards. 

A Minneapolis firm experimented with an advance card 
with a little different angle. In place of just an ordinary an- 
nouncement that the salesman would be there at such and 
such a time, this firm prepared and mailed a series of five 
cards to each customer. Each had a curiosity-arousing mes- 
sage, and the series was in effect a miniature teaser adver- 
tising campaign. To give you an idea of the way the copy 
ran, here is what the first card said: "Your customers are 
your competitors' best prospects. What are you doing 
about it? We have a plan. Til be at your store to show it to 
you on Friday" 

The plan has been eminently successful. It has cut down 
selling resistance a good deal, has made the customers will- 
ing to listen while the salesman explains the plan, and has 
resulted in a_2j per cent increase in business. 

One company which believed in the efficiency of ad- 
vance notices had its salesmen telephone long distance. 



But that didn't work. It was too easy for the buyer to say: 
"Well, I'm certainly glad you called, Joe. But don't stop 
by on this trip. We're not in the market just now." 

Perhaps the best plan of all for cutting down on waste 
calls is one which a very intelligent Chicago executive I 
Iknow terms sharps hootin g. This man believes that it is 
easier to find a man who is ready for your solicitation by 
picking and choosing than it is to broadcast and take your 
chances you will find a prospect who is hot. An avid and 
alert reader of trade papers, an eager picker-up of bits of 
news and gossip about men and companies, this executive 
is quick to perceive when conditions have arisen that make 
a company a logical prospect for the service he sells. Then 
he begins his sharpshooting campaign, going to the pros- 
pect with a made-to-order plan which the prospect must 
be interested in, because it was made expressly to help 
him meet a condition that is current and pressing at that 
particular moment. 

It requires some intelligence and vigilance to operate 
successfully on a sharpshooting basis, but it does cut down 
on the salesman's waste calls. 

Some salesmen fall into the habit— easily enough— of 
saving their BesTpfospects. This is a bad, pernicious, sales- 
costing habit. Such salesmen tell themselves: "I'll call on 
Clyde Smith last this week; I know he has an order for 
me. I'll spend my time calling on these birds I'm not sure 
of, and just drop in on Clyde to pick up his order later." 
And then on Friday when the salesman goes around to call 
on Clyde, he finds that Clyde has placed an order with a 
competitor on Wednesday. The best salesmen, wise from 



experience, follow an axiom, Call on your best prospect 

Says one man: "If you sell your best prospect, the 
chances are he will have a prospect for you that is better 
than the second best prospect on your list. Never save good 
names till Saturday— your competitor will nearly always 
get them on Friday." 

And another habit that wastes calls is that which puts 
off calling on the tough ones. 

Some salesmen start off with easy buyers, and postpone 
calling on the hard ones until they have "a few sales under 
my belt to give me confidence." But it is too easy to put 
off seeing the tough ones permanently. Much better is the 
plan of seeing the tough ones first. 

In the morning the salesman is physically at his peak for 
the day. If he starts off with a hard customer or two, maybe 
gets an order or at least a decent interview, he's far ahead 
of the game. Even if he gets turned down hard by a tough 
prospect, he is still ahead. For as a salesman in Cleveland, 
an ingenious man, told me in outlining the reason why he 
always starts each day with a call on a tough prospect: 

"It makes me so darned mad to get turned down by a 
tough customer, I get even by selling harder to every other 
man I see that day. That is why I like to have a hard cus- 
tomer to start the day on. I'm a better man because of 

A good many salesmen could cut down their waste time 
if they would learn the lesson in selling which a great 
sales executive said was the most important thing about 
selling he had learned in twenty-five years. 



In a six-word course in salesmanship he explained the 
lesson: u GetJ3—&et through— get o ut" 

A sales manager friend of mine was having some diffi- 
culty with an older salesman on his force, trying to get 
the man to cover his territory properly. The salesman 
never seemed to get around to doing it in his allotted time. 
Asked why this was, he had a ready answer. He couldn't 
possibly speed it up, he said, because his customers 
wouldn't let him spend less time with them, as the sales 
manager suggested. They wanted to talk. They would be 
offended, he averred, if he left without a good old-fash- 
ioned gabfest with each one. 

The sales manager spent a week traveling with the old- 
timer and found that far from being glad to see him, many 
of his customers did their level best to duck out when they 
saw him coming. When he did corner a .customer and 
start to talk, the salesman over-stayed in every case, and 
bored his customers, wasting his time and theirs. As an 
experiment, the sales manager sent another salesman over 
the same territory. This salesman covered it in less than 
half the time and sent in fifty per cent more orders. Con- 
fronted by this evidence, the older salesman reformed, ad- 
justed himself to the faster tempo of modern selling and 
to his very great credit made good under new conditions. 

Of course everything I have said does not mean that a 
salesman should be so filled with business and speed that 
he offends customers by his curtness. With the use of 
good judgment, a salesman can tell well enough when he 
should leave. 

A millionaire publisher, now dead, who was a fine 



salesman in his day, made it a rule throughout his long and 
honorable and successful business life to be the first man to 
stand up when he,. was talking to a prospect, meaning that 
he got ready to leave before the prospect was bored. It 
seems to me that this would be a pretty good rule for any 
salesman to follow in cutting down waste calls— Be the 
first to stand. 

When the salesman has finished discussing his business, 
he can engage for a few minutes in personal or social con- 
versation if he feels it will interest his buyer. He should 
then thank the buyer for his business or his time or both. 
Then he should leave. When he makes a call, but doesn't 
make a sale, he should follow the same rule, and not be too 
persistent, for there is such a thing as offensive persistence. 
Once a salesman gets the reputation of being a hard man 
to get rid of, he will find it more difficult the next time 
he calls to get an interview. Many times when the prospect 
sends out word that he is "not in," it's because the sales- 
man bored him with long talk and tiresome persistence on 
some previous occasion. 

During recent years a new note has entered the picture 
to help cut down waste calls. It is the use of door openers. 

One of the pioneers in this field operates through a large 
force of direct salesmen calling on housewives. The first 
time they call they leave, without cost or obligation, a 
small gift as a goodwill overture. The salesman asks per- 
mission to call at some later time to present his samples. 
Few women who accept this gift will refuse the salesman 
the courtesy of an interview. This method of getting in 
is the result of ringing over 6,000,000 doorbells. It works. 



Automobile salesmen working on a popular-priced car 
discovered that it was easier to get interviews if they 
handed the prospect a little rubber replica of their car; 
just a toy, really. These salesmen were working on neigh- 
borhood calls. They would ring the bell, hand the woman 
a miniature car, say they were giving her a new model free 
this year. That door opener broke the ice. The woman 
would say the model was cute and answered questions the 
salesman asked about the condition of the family's present 

Literature for which the prospect has written can also 
constitute an effective door opener if the salesman- delivers 
it in person. I know a salesman working for a retail lum- 
ber yard who, his sales manager says, is the world cham- 
pion user of door openers. This firm circularizes the town; 
and offers a free book on remodeling. When requests for 
the book come in, the salesman calls in person with the 
book. He doesn't just hand it through the door either. 

He says to the prospect: "I have brought you your free 
book. May I show you some of the interesting ideas it con- 

The woman usually answers, "Yes. Won't you step in? " 

Then the salesman goes over the book page by page, 
watching his prospect intently. If he sees she is most inter- 
ested in one particular phase of home remodeling, he 
spends more time talking about that. Then he goes on. 
But when he has thumbed his way through the book, he 
turns back to the chapter which intrigues the prospect 
most. He knows by experience that that is where her 
deepest interest lies. So he concentrates on that one sub- 



ject, and, by actual figures, su cceeds five time s out of ten 
i n making the sale. This is the proper use^oT the door 

Anything you can hand the customer for the sake of 
getting in qualifies as a door opener— a cigar, blotter, nov- 
elty, piece of literature. The best door openers, however, 
are those which relate to the product. 

Some salesmen wonder whether the business card is a 
good door opener. It would be, if cards were not so com- 
monplace, such "old stuff." But since cards have been used 
ever since the, first drummer took to the road centuries 
ago, the prospect is completely unimpressed by any sales- 
man's card— so much so that some salesmen refuse to carry 
cards at all, considering them to be more of a handicap 
than a help in making sales. 

If you use a card, the time to use it is when you are 
leaving the prospect. Then a card is in order, for it en- 
ables him to see, after you leave, what your name is and 
the name of your firm, in case both were not clear to him 
as you talked. 

All day long the salesman faces the real problem of 
cutting down on waste calls. If he ignores the problem, 
the waste will engulf him. But if he uses time properly, 
cuts down as much waste time from his life as he can, 
time will be his very great and good friend, his ally in 
making a success of his job. 



Probably the greatest feeling of defeat and frustration 
salesmen suffer comes, not from their inability to con- 
vince the prospect, once they get to him, b ut from th eir 
inability to get to the prospect. Often this prospect is so 
hedgeHln by Secretaries, office boys, supernumeraries that 
the salesman feels hopeless to jump all the hurdles that 
stand between them. Yet if he doesn't jump those hurdles, 
every one, he does not sell. 

One of the salesman's first jobs, therefore, is to learn 
ways by which he can get to see his man; get past the 
guards which most buyers of any pretense and importance 
have found necessary to have around themselves. 

One of the best salesmen I have known had been an 
amateur boxer and baseball player; a complete extrovert 
who believed himself to be as good as any man alive. And 
that attitude helps in getting past the buyer's guardians. 
When this man was working in New Jersey some years 
ago he found one buyer who stumped him. This buyer 
was the owner of a large silk mill. It was said that he was 
so well guarded by secretaries and other watchdogs that 
even his wife could not get in to see him, so what chance 
did a salesman have? 

To show you how a resourceful man works when he is 



up against a seemingly impossible situation, let me tell you 
how this salesman friend of mine got in, got his man's at- 
tention, got an order. The first thing he did was to scout 
the plant for several days in order to learn his prospect's 
habits and also to become acquainted with the physical 
layout he had to conquer. The prospect's office was on 
the first floor, to the back, and any salesman had to pass 
no less than eight secretaries and assistants before he got 
into the presence. Next the salesman spent an hour in the 
ante-room, observing how employees got in to see their 

The salesman decided that half -past one in the after- 
noon was the best time to make his all-out attack, because 
at that time there were fewer guardians between the pros- 
pect and the outer world. He decided upon a ruse which 
he thought would get him in. Parking his car out in front, 
he left his coat and hat in the car, shoved a pencil behind 
his ear, put on a pair of those black sateen sleeve protectors 
office men were wont to wear, took a sheaf of papers in his 
hand— and walked right past all the guards, who thought 
he was a fellow employee and had a right to see the boss. 

When the salesman entered, the austere prospect looked 
up and said: "Well?" 

"I'm here," announced the salesman. 

"How did you get in?" 


"What do you want?" 

"To talk to you." 

"You're impertinent. I'll have you fired!" 

"After you hear what I have to say, you won't," said 
the imperturbable salesman. 



"What do you want to say to me?" 

And then the salesman presented his carefully thought 
out plan to the executive, won his complete attention, and 
got a whale of an order. 

It is true that this salesman got in by means of a trick, 
and tricks are not ordinarily good in business and should 
be used only when other methods fail. Usually there is a 
way to get in and past the most carefully guarded lines 
without resorting to tricks. All a salesman has to do is to 
learn a few simple rules and plans. I gave you this sales- 
man's story to show you that there is always a last resort— 
if the salesman is ingenious, if the salesman is persistent, if 
the salesman is courageous, if the salesman is imaginative. 

One of the best rules for getting past the guard lines that 
stand between you and the prospect is to make an ally of 
the secretary or office boy. An ally is always more profit- 
able than an enemy, but many salesmen seem to like to 
engage in open conflict with those whom they have to 
please to use. They ignore the office boy, insult the secre- 
tary, high-hat the other help. Charged with the responsi- 
bility of conserving their chief's time, these satellites are 
skilled at fending off the salesman's attacks. But they're 
human. Fight them and they will fight you. Win their 
friendship and they will be on your side— and will try to 
help you. 

So, the attitude of the salesman is the important thing 
in getting in. One salesman who is skilled at hurdle jump- 
ing tells me that he spends almost as much time in prospect- 
ing the girl at the information desk as he spends on pros- 
pecting the boss himself. He learns her name, what her in- 
terests are, who her friends are. Before he ever asks to talk 

[6 3 ] 


to the buyer, he starts making friends of the girl. Seeing 
the buyer is somewhat of an afterthought with him. You 
may be sure that when the secretary goes in to announce 
this salesman, she gives him all the best of the breaks. 

Most men when they don't recognize the salesman's 
name will ask their secretaries what kind of fellow he is, 
what he looks like. 

"Oh, just another peddler," the girl may announce. "I 
don't know hardly how to describe him. He didn't tell me 
what he wants to see you about." 

"Tell him I'm busy," seems to the boss to be the most 
obvious thing to say of a salesman who is no more dis- 
tinguished than this one is. 

But if the secretary is intrigued by the salesman, has 
formed a liking for him, she can win an interview for the 
salesman even though the boss is busy and is not seeing 
anybody on that particular morning. 

A salesman calling on men in the financial district in 
Chicago, where men are hard to see, tells me that he relies 
greatly on the co-operation of secretaries in getting in. 

"I would appreciate it a lot, Miss Harrington, if you 
would secure an interview with Mr. Hobson for me," he 
will tell the girl. "I will consider it a great personal favor." 

All of us when we are asked to do slight favors respond. 
These girls are no exceptions. They work like nailers to 
see that the salesman gets in to see the boss. 

Often the girl asks a question which completely floors 
the salesman. "What do you want to see him about?" is 
the question. 

Different salesmen find different answers to that ques- 

[6 4 ] 


tion. One of the best ways to answer it is merely to say: 
"Personal matter." 

If the girl persists in wanting to know what kind of 
personal matter it is, the salesman says something like this: 
"I am sure Mr. Bancroft wouldn't want it discussed with 
anyone else. Please tell him I am here." 

Or the salesman can forestall the what-do-you-want-to- 
see-him-about question by asking the girl in a dignified 
way: "Will you please tell Mr. Huchington that Charles 
Warren is here to see him about a personal matter?" 

One great salesman of New York City worked out an 
answer to that question which he found effective. When- 
ever the secretary or office boy would ask, "What do you 
want to see him about?" the salesman would smile and 
say, "Courtesy call." 

That was a good answer, he found, because it couldn't 
be garbled or misinterpreted. The secretary or office boy 
couldn't put his or her own interpretation to it but would 
say: "There is a Mr. Brown to see you, sir. He says it is a 
courtesy call." Besides, the words courtesy call sounded on 
the important side. 

The main thing in getting in lies in the attitude of the 
salesman toward himself, toward his prospect, toward the 
secretary. If he has the self-confident attitude a salesman 
should have, he wins the respect of the girl. There are 
some men whose poise is so great that it would be impos- 
sible to refuse what they wanted. It is that sort of poise 
which the salesman must try to develop. 

The ingredients of his attitude were never better ex- 
pressed than by a friend who told me of his method: "I 



try to express enthusiastic dignity by my bearing and 
words," said he.'Tm a pretty big man and my prospect is a 
pretty big man. I know a lot— can talk in terms of his under- 
standing—and he knows a lot. If you can impress the girl 
that you are the equal of her boss in mental stature, and not 
just a peddler, you will find it is not too difficult to get in 
to see almost anybody you want to see." 

This salesman's favorite greeting is his self-confident, 
serene attitude plus a simple request: "Will you please 
tell Mr. Clary that Earle Brown is here?" 

He says it in such a way that the girl believes her boss 
must be just sitting in his office waiting for Earle Brown 
to show up, would be unhappy if he had to wait much 
longer for that event to take place. Which reminds me of 
reading years ago of the reason why Admiral Peary al- 
ways got what he wanted from everybody. It was the way 
he asked. When Peary made even the simplest request no 
one could refuse him. One man said that this was because 
Admiral Peary "asks with so strong a will." 

There are times when the salesman calls upon a man 
whose name he does not know. Such times require a special 
handling. The salesman must get the girl to give her boss's 
name without revealing that he didn't know it. 

Some salesman find that acting as though they had for- 
gotten the name gets it for them. 

"I wish to see Mr. . . . Mr. ..." the salesman will 

The girl finishes the sentence obligingly by saying: 

"That's it-Mr. Broadhurst. Is he in?" 



"Does he know you?" 

"He should know me!" 

"What is your business with Mr. Broadhurst?" 


The approach of the salesman who has to get by an office 
rule that employees shall not see salesmen during working 
hours is a little more difficult. Even that isn't too high a 
hurdle for the resourceful salesman. 

Around Detroit a few years ago there was a salesman 
who had this problem whipped to a standstill. A consum- 
mate actor, a man with an ingratiating manner and a com- 
manding smile, he'd approach the information girl and, 
pointing to a vacant desk, ask: "Where is the gentleman 
who sits at that desk over yonder?" 

His bearing gave the impression that he had been there 
before. Ordinarily the girl would say: "Do you mean Mr. 


Then with great sang froid, when Mr. Dubois appeared, 
the salesman would say: "Hello, Mr. Dubois. I have been 
waiting for you." 

For him the rest was easy. 

If no desk was empty when he entered the big room 
where he did most of his selling, the salesman would ask 
the girl: "Will you tell that gentleman"— business of point- 
ing at the prospect he had singled out— "that I'm waiting. 
I have forgotten his name. I'm sorry." 

Whereupon the girl would supply the name, tell the 
prospect the salesman was waiting. 

Still another hurdle is the request to send in a card. Al- 

[6 7 ] 


ready I have referred to the misuse of business cards as 
door openers. Some salesmen send cards in when they 
call, but this does not usually get them in. Some salesmen, 
disillusioned by the ineffectiveness of business cards, re- 
fuse to carry them altogether. 

One old-time salesman, successful for years in the West, 
won't carry cards. Whenever he is asked for one, his re- 
ply is: "I don't have a card. I travel for a house that doesn't 
need cards." Such self-confidence is usually all he needs 
to get in. 

In calling on important prospects there is a rule, how- 
ever, that the salesman must send a card in first; this is a 
form of business etiquette which is common in big-time 
selling circles. Salesmen find that a plain card is best; a 
simple engraved card with just their name and town, 
nothing else. Such a card will read: 



A card of that kind suggests class, arouses curiosity, 
helps get the salesman in to see important buyers. 

The sales manager for an investment house discovered 
an interesting phase of human nature when one of his 
salesmen, who had just been named vice president of the 
firm, began getting interviews with prospects who had 
always closed the door on him before. It was his new title 
that did the trick— he was a vice president and therefore 
entitled to more consideration. A shrewd sales executive, 
this sales manager had all his top salesmen named vice pres- 
idents. This so impressed the prospects that the ratio of 



lost calls on account of the refusal of the prospect to see 
the salesman dwindled almost to the point of extinction. 

Naturally, the chief rule for getting in to see the buyer, 
as you have read earlier, lies in preparation. 

If the salesman prepares sufficiently for his call, there 
is no buyer who is untouchable. The salesman, in seek- 
ing information about the buyer, learns that he and the 
buyer know a third person. This is the basis of the mutual 
friend approach, often effective. When the salesman calls 
he tells the girl tonoTrfyMr. Forbes that Mr. Simpson, a 
friend of Mr. Forbes' friend, Mr. Williamson, is calling. 

Some salesmen like letters of introduction, find them 
useful in jumping hurdles, while other salesmen scoff at 
the use of such salesmanship, sissy salesmanship, as they 
call it. The fact remains, however, that among important 
men, like bankers and big executives, letters of introduc- 
tion arelnuch in"Use: ,,, ^ i rd ,IN Ofteirjnetter of introduction 
will get a man in to a prospect quicker than anything else. 

The salesman can also use an outside event, such as a 
train or airplane schedule, as a means of forcing his way in. 
One salesman I know says he has been in a hurry to catch 
a train for the past forty years. He calls, and is told that 
Mr. Jacobs cannot see him. Thereupon he takes out his 
watch, studies it, shakes his head sadly, and says, "That is 
too bad, too bad. I have come all the way from Los An- 
geles to see Mr. Jacobs and my train leaves at four o'clock. 
I should hate to go back without at least shaking his hand." 

This usually leads the girl to say: "Wait. I'll see if Mr. 
Jacobs can squeeze in just a few minutes for you." 

She tells Mr. Jacobs about the long train ride, the four 

[6 9 ] 


o'clock train, and usually Mr. Jacobs finds that he can let 
the salesman see him for just a little while. The salesman 
is a fast worker. He can ordinarily get an order if he can 
get to see his man, because his whole presentation is geared 
to the kind of pressure that his approach suggests. 

The principle behind all that you have read thus far in 
this chapter is the same: Find some point of contact so that 
the buyer is willing to see you. Be resourceful and not 
easily discouraged. Above all, be ingenious. 

There is no prospect so carefully guarded that he can- 
not be seen by a determined, ingenious salesman. It takes 
finesse, courage, patience, and a smile to get in, but any 
salesman who decides a prospect is worth seeing can see 
that prospect, regardless of how high the hurdles he has 
to jump may be. 

A salesman can rarely bull his way in by main strength 
and awkwardness. That sort of thing plays right into the 
hands of the secretaries and others in the outer office. But 
the salesman can always think his way in, first, by making 
the secretary like him, and, second, by using that powerful 
leverage known as curiosity, and, third, by acting so im- 
portant that he convinces himself and everybody else that 
he belongs in there talking to the prospect. 

There are no prospects who are not seen by some sales- 
men. Remember that. The prospect may keep out 99 sales- 
men, but the hundredth will get in. Be that man. You have 
to be that man, as a matter of fact. Because if you don't get 
in— you don't sell. 




It's hard enough when all the salesman has to do is to 
get past the secretary or office boy. But when the buyer 
himself is determined not to see the caller and sends out 
word to that effect, the salesman is up against a problem 
which keeps hundreds of salesmen from making sales every 

The hardy salesman has a philosophy, however, covering 
that situation. His credo runs: "No case is hopeless." If he 
cannot get past the buyer's no in one way, he gets past it in 
another. A salesman for advertising space, for example, was 
refused admission to a big buyer's office for several months. 
He wasn't dismayed. He learned where the prospect was 
going to spend his vacation. By "coincidence" the sales- 
man managed to spend his vacation at the same hotel. Sales- 
man and prospect met socially. Then one afternoon while 
they were idling on the beach the salesman had a chance 
to make his presentation. He took his data from a port- 
folio which he had carefully hidden nearby for just such 
a contingency. 

Another salesman, calling on a very important Chicago 
hardware buyer, learned that the man was leaving for a 
trip to the South Seas that same afternoon. The salesman 
didn't go back to his office— he went to the South Seas. 



Somewhere between Chicago and Bali he had a chance to 
make his approach, his presentation, his sale. 

The belief that "No case is hopeless" will save any 
salesman from becoming downcast when the buyer says 
no, no, no, no, too many times. 

One story on this subject I like concerns a prominent 
advertising executive, now dead. He called to see a manu- 
facturer about advertising. At first the manufacturer was 
always "out" when the salesman called or telephoned. This 
was during the courteous stage. Later the buyer became 
rude and sent out word that he didn't want to see the 
salesman under any circumstances. 

A weak-kneed salesman would have given up, but all 
this advertising salesman did was to rent a hotel room 
nearby on a monthly rate. Every day he wrote a lengthy, 
blistering letter to the prospect, saying he was staying till 
the manufacturer saw him if it took the rest of both their 
lives. Each letter contained a suggestion for improving 
the prospect's advertising. On the ninth day the manufac- 
turer capitulated. The persistent salesman left for home 
the same night with a contract in his pocket. He stuck. 
And won. 

The first thing the salesman should do when he runs into 
continued refusal by any buyer to see him is to analyze 
and learn the reason. Usually it isn't personal, so he can 
forget his feelings and self-consciousness right at the start. 
But what is the reason for the buyer's refusal? That is 
what the salesman has to decide. 

A bright English writer has contributed some interest- 



ing angles on this question. He has classified the different 
types of noes in use by buyers. 

There are two main types, he concludes. First is the 
compulsory no which says in effect: "I can't see you," and 
then the psychological no, which says: "I won't see you." 
They require different treatment. 

Take the compulsory no. The buyer sends out word 
that he cannot sec vou. He is sincere in saying so. He may 
have a district manager in town for the day, may be up to 
the deadline on a new advertising campaign, may be over- 
due at an important meeting or called for service on the 
grand jury. 

If you decide that you are up against the compulsory no, 
your problem is simple: don't persist. This is one time when 
the salesman should take no for an answer. The thing for 
you to do is either to make an appointment for some later 
time, or to leave gracefully and call back later when you 
think the coast will be clear. 

With the psychological no the problem is entirely dif- 
ferent. The buyer has learned that he can scare away most 
salesmen if he barks "No!" at them, so he has taken to 
using the word as a means of getting rid of all salesmen. 

His no may be one of three classes: i . It may be the habit 
or custom no. The buyer has tried yelling no to salesmen. 
It has worked. Therefore he yells it at all salesmen, until 
saying no has become a fixed habit. 2. It may be the obsti- 
nate no. Such a no is used by a man who is boorish or 
negativistic, a man whose reaction to everything is nega- 
tive; you know, the kind of man who tells you: "No. 



What is it you want?" 3. It may be the temperamental no. 
The buyer doesn't feel so well, is upset by conditions, is 
turning everybody down— you included. 

When you have decided that the thing you are up 
against is a psychological no, then your problem is merely 
to stick and sell. Persistence— genial, bland, intelligent, 
low-pressure persistence— is the answer to the psychologi- 
cal no. 

The skill the salesman uses in persisting shows how suc- 
cessful he will be in handling this type of no. 

Many salesmen have many ruses for handling it. 

The house telephone ruse is good. The salesman asks 
the secretary, after she has brought out the bad news that 
Mr. Watlington won't see him, if he might use the tele- 
phone to talk to Mr. Watlington for just a minute. Cer- 
tainly. This gives the salesman a chance to see if he is 
skillful enough to overturn Mr. Watlington's no. It is 
easier for any buyer to make a foil of his secretary and 
send out his refusal by her than it is for him to refuse the 
salesman on the telephone. 

Many times the buyer will say to the salesman who calls 
him on the house phone: "Well, if that is the case, I'll see 
you. But only for five minutes, you understand." Every 
salesman should work out in advance a telephone talk to 
pull the interview out of the fire when he runs into this 
psychological no. 

Other salesmen find that telegrams pay in overcoming 
this type of no. One salesman discovered their value quite 
by accident. He was trying to get to see a buyer who 
steadfastly refused to see him for no other reason than that 



he was just plain stubborn. The salesman went to a nearby 
Western Union branch office, wrote this telegram: "when 


That got him in. 

Another salesman found a plan that helped him crack 
the buyer who wouldn't see him. He sent his samples to 
such buyers by special delivery. With them went this 
note: "I am sorry you had no time to see me today, but I 
am sending my samples. Please examine at your leisure. 
Will you be in at ten in the morning? I don't want to leave 
town without seeing you." 

An occasional salesman with a flair for showmanship 
and plenty of nerve can make use of tricks which the ordi- 
nary salesman had better leave alone. One salesman I know, 
a born showman and comedian, would throw his hat into 
the prospect's office first. The spectacle of a hat flying 
through the air would jar almost any buyer, make him sit 
up and take notice. Then with a big smile all over his 
homely face the salesman would peek in and ask: "Is it 
safe for me to come in now?" 

There is an opportunity for an ingenious salesman to 
make use of notes when a prospect refuses to see him. 

A truck salesman in Indiana found that this method 
worked for him. After a buyer had refused to see him half 
a dozen times, the salesman composed a series of nine one- 
hundred-word letters. 

He mailed his notes at intervals of three days. After 
telling the story of his vehicle and how it would save 



money for the prospect, he ended with this kind of state- 
ment: "Yet you won't let me PROVE the dollars and 
cents worth of this advantage. Just scratch the words 
' Come and see me' on the bottom of this letter and return 
in the stamped envelope I supply. That will bring me there 
to tell you the whole story." 

After the seventh letter the buyer decided he was pass- 
ing by something good, so he asked the salesman to call. 
Which proves again, if more proof were needed, that it 
pays to stick. 

A buyer sends out word to a salesman that he won't see 
him. The salesman writes a note which is to the point. He 
writes it in longhand in the outer office, sends it in by the 
girl. "My time is worth thirty cents a minute," the note 
begins, "but my proposition is so important to you that I 
can better afford to devote several minutes of my time to 
writing this note than in dropping you from my list. You 
will agree with me when you hear what I have to say. Do 
you not think it would be good business at least to give me 
an audience?" 

This almost invariably got him in. 

The buyer who sends out word he is too busy to see the 
salesman may be expressing a compulsory no but not usu- 
ally. Usually it's a stall. He may be like a big-shot a friend 
of mine called on. The secretary came out and said that the 
prospect was very, very busy and couldn't see the sales- 

"I haven't much to do," the salesman said. "I think I'll 
wait for a while." 

He waited. In about ten minutes the girl went in to see 



her boss, and through the open door the salesman got a 
glimpse of what 9 the big-shot was busy doing: he was work- 
ing a crossword puzzle. His compulsory no was a psycho- 
logical no. 

Often you will find that to be the case. When you are 
convinced that it is, treat it as such. 

One of the best ways to get around the "too busy to see 
you" stall is to get the facts first. One of my friends cites 
the case of a salesman calling on a department store buyer 
without getting to first base. "Too busy. Too busy. Too 

This salesman wanted to sell his prospect some billfolds. 
He didn't give up when he met with resistance. Instead, he 
went around to different departments where billfolds were 
handled, got recommendations and opinions from depart- 
ment managers. He actually had to force his way in to see 
the buyer, but when he confronted that worthy he had 
the evidence he had gathered. The buyer simply had to 
listen to the story. 

Another salesman rode in the cab of a company's trucks 
for several days, studying the requirements in a truck. 
When he called back to talk to the buyer, he had facts be- 
side him. A salesman who is so armed will seldom fail to 
get an interview, and will probably get an order also. 

Another bane of a salesman's life is the time he wastes 

in waiting. 

No one knows how many man hours have been wasted 
by salesmen cooling their heels in outer offices and recep- 
tion rooms, but everyone knows that many of those hours 
have been needlessly wasted. Some salesmen don't resent 



having to wait. They like it. It protects them against the 
"slings and arrows of outrageous fortune" in the form of 
irascible and discourteous buyers. I have actually seen 
salesmen sigh with relief when the girl announced that 
Mr. So and So would be tied up for twenty minutes. They 
would slump into a chair with an "at last I'm safe" expres- 
sion written all over their faces. 

But since every salesman trades on time, waiting is an- 
other problem the salesman had better solve in the right 
way if he is to make the most of his opportunities. 

Of course some waiting for prospects is inevitable. The 
trick is not to cut it out entirely, which is impossible, but 
to cut it down, which is not difficult, and also to use what 
waiting time you must spend in a profitable way. 

Just how long should a salesman wait for a buyer? There 
is no definite answer to that. It depends entirely on condi- 
tions. I recollect a cartoon in one of the national magazines 
on this subject. It showed a secretary explaining the pres- 
ence of something new in the office to her boss, the presi- 
dent of the concern. The new object was a tent with a cot 
in it and a salesman asleep on the cot. In front of the tent 
was a cooking grid, a thermos bottle, some opened cans of 
foods— and also the salesman's sample kits. The caption 
read: "A Mr. Hoberman to see you, sir. He has been wait- 
ing a long time." 

Since many buyers adopt the attitude that if a salesman 
is willing to wait, let him wait, the salesman or his firm 
should put a ceiling on waiting time. Many firms do. One 
of the fastest-moving national sales organizations with 
which I am acquainted has this dogmatic rule: "Don't wait 


rnnre than ten minutes— for anybody ." The salesmen must 

follow those instructions: if they have waited ten minutes 

to no avail, they must explain to the secretary that they are 

leaving and will see the buyer later. 

Whether you wait ten minutes, or fifteen, or fifty, I 
think you will save time by having a ceiling on your wait- 
ing time and not exceeding it for any prospect. 

While you are waiting there is no use in wasting your 
time. Some salesmen spend their waiting time in keeping 
the secretary from her work. Others read. But the plan I 
think wisest is for the salesman to use his time in preparing 
for the next call. Time spent merely in waiting is wasted, 
but more than time is wasted in waiting. Some of the sales- 
man's courage oozes out while he waits. If a salesman will 
spend his waiting minutes in thinking of what he is going 
to say to his next three or four prospects, actually planning 
his next interviews, the time is not wasted. It is profitably 
invested and will pay dividends. 



There is a belief, erroneous of course, that the bigger the 
man the easier it is to see him. While it may be true that 
most big men, once you get in to them, are as easy to ap- 
proach, as pleasant to talk to as anyone else, it is also true 
that the busier a man is the more careful he has to be with 
his time. And big men are busy. Hence big business execu- 
tives are in some cases almost impossible to see. Getting in 
to see them requires special skill on the part of the salesman. 

It is a different kind of skill, a different strategy. 

The big, busy man is not only surrounded by the same 
kind of buffers as smaller men— the secretaries, the office 
boys, the supernumeraries of various kinds— but he has an- 
other form of protection besides. It's a small army of as- 
sistants and, in some cases, of yes-men by whom some big 
executives are surrounded. 

You make your approach on such an executive, ask to 
see Mr. Wilson, and the girl is so obliging and courteous 
that you think for once in your life you are getting a swell 
break. But in place of getting in to see Mr. Wilson, you are 
shunted into an office occupied by a Mr. Patterson, who 
assures you he is one of Mr. Wilson's right-hand men and 
will transmit whatever you tell him to Mr. Wilson imme- 



diately. Sometimes he will. More often he will not. More 
often he is just a man to take up the slack and relieve Mr. 
Wilson of another detail. 

Salesmen who are most successful in dealing- with top 
executives start their success procedure right at this point: 
they always insist on seeing the right man, won't tell their 

When he's green, a salesman will often give his sales 
presentation to whoever will listen, to second- and third- 
level men, when only the top man can buy. And often 
salesmen who are not so green will make this mistake. For 
it is always a mistake. One salesman was telling me recently 
that he had fizzled what seemed to be a golden opportunity 
to close a sale. 

"What was the trouble?" I inquired. 

"Same old thing. Didn't get to see the top man. Gave my 
talk to an executive who I thought could buy but after I 
finished my presentation he said he'd have to take it up with 
the boss. You know what that means." 

"Sale gone for good, do you think?" 

"Gone for good. Wonder if I'll ever learn?" 

"You'd better." 

"There's only one rule for selling," continued this dis- 
illusioned salesman. "The rule is to see the right man. Usu- 
ally that is the top man in an organization. When you don't 
observe the rule you spoil the sale. Every darned time." 

The problem of getting in to see big, busy, important 
men is that so many salesmen are trying to see them every 
day. Every buyer has to develop a defense against so many 
salesmen; has to or he couldn't stand the strain on his time 



or his nerves. And these big men have airtight defenses to 
keep salesmen out. 

The only way to get in is to penetrate their defenses by 
being different from other salesmen— different in attack and 

To give you an example of what I mean, there was a 
salesman who tried vainly for a long time to sell equipment 
to a large industrialist. Sometimes he got in to see his man, 
but after a while even this was denied him. He was not the 
kind of salesman whom anybody could deny permanently. 
So he staged his interview with great thought and care. He 
wrote to fifty companies, asking them what type equip- 
ment they intended to buy. Some of these companies were 
larger than the prospect's; all were names he could look up 
to and respect. 

When he got his replies, the salesman telephoned to the 
secretary of his prospect and suggested to her that if her 
employer would like to review the letters, which the sales- 
man was sure would interest him, the salesman would bring 
them right over. This information the girl relayed to her 
boss, who replied yes, he'd be glad to read the letters. 
Thus the salesman got in under the most favorable circum- 
stances. He made the big man anticipate his call. He got 
an order as well as an entrance. Strategy is the thing that 

Another salesman used the strategy of a letter in making 
his contact with a man he had found impossible to see. The 
letter he wrote showed that the salesman had been think- 
ing in terms of the prospect's problems, was sincerely try- 
ing to help him. Every big man likes that. The letter was 



brief, showed thoughtfulness and care. No one could re- 
fuse to see a salesman who used such a letter. 
This is the letter: 

Dear Sir: 

About two months ago I decided that you could use the 
advantage of a product of my company. I first considered 
trying to arrange an interview. 

Then it occurred to me that, unless I were right in my 
opinions, I wouldn't be justified in asking for even five min- 
utes of your time. 

And so I have spent several hours during the past six weeks 
checking up on some of my theories with your own sales- 
men, distributors, and dealers. Their unanimous opinion 
makes me confident that I am right. The eighteen men with 
whom I have discussed the matter all agree that my product 
and its use as I proposed it to them for your company, can 
undoubtedly save you real dollars each year. 

Of course, I realize that you decide on such matters. Now 
I feel justified in asking you for a few minutes of your time. 

I assure you that I will make a quick exit if I am wrong. 
If I am right I will stay only as long as you would like me to. 

Respectfully youA, 

P.S. May I call your secretary the day after tomorrow? I 
shall be grateful for an appointment. 

The problem of getting to the big man is fundamen- 
tally the same problem as getting to other prospects; 
namely, that of getting past the secretary. Big men have 
much more intelligent and efficient secretaries, usually, 
than other prospects, and the ordinary salesman's gags and 
dodges which might go very well with Nellie, secretary to 

[8 3 ] 


the purchasing agent of the Ace-Hi Broom Factory, will 
hardly get by with the college-bred secretary to the presi- 
dent of the First National Bank. 

Most salesmen who call on big executives have dis- 
covered that a dignified strategy involving a conversation 
between secretaries— theirs and the prospect's— is much 
more effective in making an appointment than a telephone 
call which they make themselves direct to the secretary of 
the prospect. That's one of the conditions in dealing with 
big men. So^wise salesmen have their secretaries, if any, 
telephone the prospect's secretary for the appointment. 

If the salesman is working away from his home base or 
hasn't a secretary, he hires a public stenographer to make 
the call or asks the hotel switchboard operator to do it for 
him. This strategy is much more impressive on the secre- 
tary of the big man than a direct frontal attack of an extro- 
vert salesman who telephones and tries for an appointment 
on his own. 

A typical call to the secretary of a big man might run 
something like this— it is the plan used by one of the most 
effective salesmen in the New York area. His secretary 
always telephones. "This is Miss Johnston speaking," she 
begins. "I am calling for David George Blake. Mr. Blake 
wishes me to make an appointment for him to see Mr. 
Collins tomorrow some time, if that day is convenient." 

Note that she uses the full name of the salesman— this for 
the sake of dignity and maybe also for the sake of a little 
bit of pompousness. 

If the secretary of Mr. Collins wants to know what 
Mr. Blake wishes to see Mr. Collins about, the salesman's 

[8 4 ] 


secretary responds: "Mr. Blake is not here just now but I 
think it has something to do with Mr. Collins' plans for his 
son Edward." 

If the other secretary wants to know who Mr. Blake is, 
the girl acts surprised. 

"Why, Mr. David George Blake, of So and So, the 

If the secretary cannot make an appointment for the 
next day, the salesman's representative should try to make 
one for the day after that, or as soon as possible. If she 
cannot get an appointment on her first call, she should 
make another call, perhaps two or three more. There is an 
advantage in repeated calls: they fix the name of the 
salesman in the secretary's mind, arouse her curiosity, and 
make her acquainted with the salesman's name, so that he 
is no longer a stranger when his name is given. 

If the salesman finds after several attempts that it is 
impossible to get an appointment by telephone, even when 
using this tested strategy, h is next step is to use the mails. 
The salesman should have some impressive stationery for 
this purpose. On it should be his name, his address, no 
business connection. He should write the prospect a note 
telling the circumstances of his having tried to get an ap- 
pointment without success. He should request an appoint- 

It may be that these repeated contacts will convince the 
executive that he has met this fellow Blake somewhere. At 
least they will give him the idea that the salesman is his 
equal and that he can meet the prospect on his own 
ground— one of the secrets of controlling other people. 

[8 S ] 


The salesman needs to be as big and as important a man as 
the prospect is. 

Once the salesman gets in to see the important man he 
should continue with the impression his appointment ef- 
forts have created. He should be dignified and precise, not 
familiar and careless. One salesman I know impresses the 
secretaries of his big prospects by carrying along and 
reading while waiting the reading matter of important men 
—financial papers, expensive business publications such as 
you see on the reading tables in the best clubs. 

When the salesman introduces himself he should use his 
full name thus: "Good morning. I am David George Blake. 
Mr. Collins expects me at ten o'clock." 

Many of the best approaches to big men have to be 
through the "side entrance," regardless of how careful the 
salesman is to observe all the niceties of approach which 
I have been giving you here. S uch approaches throug h 
that side entrance are known as t he oblique approach. 
They are not made head on. They are made from an 
angle. Often they can be built around some contact or 
other which the salesman has had with the executive. 

Suppose the salesman had attended a banquet where the 
prospect was introduced. Tenuous as such a contact is, the 
salesman wants to make full use of it. After following the 
third-person appointment technique previously described, 
the salesman when he gets to see his prospect may say 
something like this: "I was very much interested in the 
sentiment displayed at the merchants' banquet last Tues- 
day. Two questions have come to my mind since. The first 
is, how general is that sentiment expressed among thinking 



men? The second question is, if the sentiment is general is 
it a good time to change the personnel policies of a store as 
was suggested by the speaker?" 

The prospect should be encouraged to open up and talk. 
The salesman should decide from his remarks if the time is 
propitious for him to introduce his proposition. Oftejxit is 
not advisable on the first call to go even so far as to talk 
business at all, but merely to make a contact, win confi- 
dence, and call again, perhaps two or three times before 
trying to sell him. 

There is one big salesman in the country who uses this 
low-pressure method very effectively. His early training 
may have had something to do with it. He was a physician 
before he decided to go into business. And you know how 
physicians resent anything that savors of high pressure and 
aggressiveness. So this doctor became very restrained in 
all his contacts. That restraint might not have been good 
with ordinary prospects and an ordinary proposition, but 
since he was calling on the biggest men in the country, it 
was excellent strategy with them. The salesman went so 
far in his contacts as to refuse to be the first to mention his 
product. He let the prospect break the ice. Then he was, 
of course, willing to talk about it— but not until the pros- 
pect had evinced of his own accord an interest in hearing 
about what the salesman had come to sell. 

Big men are always being imposed upon and hence are 
wary and cagey, more suspicious than men of ordinary 
importance. Therefore, a salesman who works among them 
must develop a technique that allays suspicion. 

At the same time, no matter how big a man is, he is a 

[8 7 1 


human being, and consequently vain just as you and I are 
vain. One writer tells about an incident which proves that 
big men can be reached by the human side as easily as any- 
one else. A jobless but competent young salesman, after 
trying unsuccessfully to line something up, appealed to a 
friend for advice. His trouble was that he couldn't get in to 
see the big industrialists he thought might need him, and 
when he did get in they all made the interview short and 
unsatisfactory. He wasn't getting anywhere. He presented 
these facts to his friend. 

"Huh— no wonder you're not getting anywhere," ex- 
claimed the friend. "Tell you what you do. Make a list of 
the ten best firms of your kind in New York and go to the 
heads of these firms. When the girl asks what you want to 
see her boss about, tell her you came to ask his advice about 
an important question. 

"Then you'll have no trouble in getting in, because no 
man is so free from vanity that he can withstand the ap- 
peal of being sought for advice. When you get in to see 
your man, don't tell him about needing a job. Simply tell 
him you have come to a parting of the ways and wish to 
make a change that will insure you a real future. Explain 
that this is so important you want the best advice to be 
had and hence have taken the liberty of seeing him." 

The friend reasoned with the young salesman that one 
of the big men he called on would be impressed with what 
a smart fellow he must be to seek his advice and say: 
"Maybe we could use you." 

And that is exactly what happened: the young salesman 
had his job within four days. 



Often it is much easier to get in to see big men if you 
have a leverage in the form of a friend or acquaintance 
who knows the man you are trying to see. In that case you 
should follow the third person approach, secretary to sec- 
retary, you know, but the person who telephones for you 
can use this appeal: "Mr. Harry D wight McAllister has 
asked me to make an appointment with Mr. Sullivan. By 
the way, I should have explained that Mr. McAllister is a 
friend of Mr. Van Schaick, and I believe that is why he is 
trying to get in touch with Mr. Sullivan." 

The salesman can use this same type of approach when 
he has a letter of introduction to the big man. 

There is no trickery in the oblique approach. Trickery 
of all things has the least use when tried on big men. They 
are trainedTlFthey are not, they w^T^notHBewnere they 
are. They are quick to suspect trickery, quick to resent it. 

What you have read thus far about the attitude of the 
salesman in getting in applies with much more force when 
calling on big men than on ordinary prospects. 

Some salesmen are afraid of big men, timid about calling 
on them. The name for this fear is "plate glass fear," from 
the fact that salesmen often get shaky-kneed at the sight 
of plate glass store fronts and chromium trim. Many more 
get chills at the sight of a big office, an efficient secretary, 
and deep-piled rugs in the reception room. 

But no salesman need fear these big men nor find him- 
self tongue-tied in their presence. It's just a question of 
using the kind of technique their station in life demands— 
and feeling himself their equal. If the salesman will keep 
in mind that dealing with important men is the same as 

[8 9 ] 


dealing with less important men, except that it is on a 
higher plane, requires a little more dignity and poise and 
plan, he will have no trouble. 

Big men are just as easy to sell to as ordinary men. Easier, 
in fact. They can understand quicker what you say, can 
make up their minds quicker if they are impressed. 

[ 9° 



A purchasing agent, who has been on the receiving end 
of the salesman's efforts for many years, was telling me 
the other day that he believes one of the main weaknesses 
in salesmen is that they are careless about the quality of 
attention they had during unsuccessful interviews. 

Because I have felt the same thing for a long time, I asked 
him to explain his ideas more fully. 

He said that invariably salesmen thank him for his at- 
tention at the conclusion of unsuccessful interviews. 

" What's wrong with that? "I asked. "Gratitude is an 
important selling quality." IS. 

"I know that. I never object to gratitude. But usually I 
don't give those men the attention that they are thanking 
me for," said he. "All I do is sit and look at the man, nod 
in agreement occasionally, but all the time I am solving my 
other problems, with my mind miles away from the sales- 
man and his talk. It's an act but most salesmen never per- 
ceive that it is. They think I am giving them my undivided 

"Do you treat all salesmen in that way?" I asked. 

"Not all. But many. I'd never get my work done if I 





"Do you call that giving a salesman a square deal?" 

"I don't think any ethical considerations are involved at 
all," the purchasing agent replied. "If a salesman is skilled 
enough and smart enough to get my attention, I'll not hold 
back, but if he's willing to settle for a cheap phoney, that 
isn't my fault or my responsibility, is it?" 

The purchasing agent thought it was highly amusing 
that salesmen should waste so much of their lives being 
fooled by the buyer, but I couldn't find anything about the 
situation to laugh at. To me it was serious. For it revealed 
a mental bottleneck that is present to a greater or less de- 
gree in virtually every sales interview; a bottleneck which 
costs salesmen much of their time and energy every day. 
Very often when the salesman fails to sell, his failure goes 
back to this one fact— that he didn't get attention. 

I find that salesmen make two mistakes concerning at- 

The first is that they do not distinguish between^rgje- 
vant^and irrelevant attention. They think that any kind of 
attention, just so it's attention, is good. They are like the 
old-time drummer with his checked suit, his red vest, his 
gigantic watch chain, and his smoking car stories. Wher- 
ever he went he got attention. But often it was not the 
kind of attention that made sales— it was not relevant atten- 
tion. It was attention to himself and his stories, not to his 
goods and presentation. 

The second mistake which salesmen make concerning 

attention is that they are content with less than undivided, 

____^___ . ___^ — — —— — — ^ ** 

i oo per cent attention. 

The salesmen who called on the purchasing agent I have 



just quoted, for instance, got attention. It was not un- 
divided attention. The purchasing agent fooled them, it is 
true, by feigning undivided attention, but it's a good sales- 
man's responsibility not to be fooled by anybody. 

The real salesman will not, cannot, be content with less 
than undivided^ relevant attention. Relevant attention 
means attention that relates to his proposition or story. It 
is attention which can be transformed into interest, into 
convictions, into closed sales. Undivided attention is atten- 
tion of such concentration thaFTrie "buyer is oblivious to 
everything else that goes on about him. "A good salesman is 
forever checking, checking, checking to see if the quality 
of his attention is right. How does he check? Very simply. 
By using questions. If the salesman suspects that the buyer 
is slipping awayTxom him or that the attention is merely 
token attention, he stops in his talk, asks questions. 

"Don't you think that what I have said applies directly 
to your problem here, Mr. Hill?" is a question that can be 
used for attention- winning purposes. 

"With your distribution facilities, Mr. Rice, how many 
gross of this item do you think you could sell in the next- 
six months?" is another that assures the salesman's getting 
his man back in the groove of full and useful attention. 

"Doesn't that argument strike you as being absolutely 
sound, Mr. Hammond?" 

These few questions will give you the idea of what I 
mean by questions that check on attention and its quality, 
and put the sales talk back where it belongs and prevent the 
prospect from getting away from you or hoodwinking you 
by his acting skill and duplicity. 



When you study the question of attention you study one 
of the most fascinating, yet misunderstood, branches of 
selling. For attention, which is so important no sale is pos- 
sible without it, is not understood by most salesmen, re- 
gardless of the years they have been in selling. 

As I have, told you, the first rule in making a sale is that 
you must have undivided attention. This means what the 
word says: attention that brooks no competition, attention 
so complete that for the time being the prospect is unaware 
of anything else going on around him, so completely rapt 
by what the salesman says and does that he forgets his sur- 
roundings, even forgets who he is. 

If he yields partial attention, indifferent attention, as 
most prospects give most salesmen, the salesman's task is 
difficult, nay, impossible. 

Whenever I talk with a group of salesmen, I manage to 
get them to talk about attention, its nature, how it can be 
won, how long it can be held. And always I ask the sales- 
men to tell me how long they think undivided attention 
can be held. Salesmen answer my question by saying that 
they believe attention can be held anywhere from five min- 
utes to three hours. But those are guesses. There is no need 
to guess, because psychologists, working in laboratories 
as completely equipped and as accurate as chemical research 
laboratories of vast industrial plants, can measure attention 
with exactness and give us the facts. 

The length of time which undivided attention can be 
held is ever so much shorter than you may surmise. Tests 
have shown that an ordinary person with an ordinary mind 
can yield his undivided attention for just three-fifths of a 



second. That is right— just three-fifths of a second. But 
your job is to hold your prospect's attention much longer 
than that, for who can make a sale in three-fifths of a 
second? Maybe you are wondering what is wrong with 
those psychological laboratories and their measuring de- 

The answer is: Your job in selling is first to get his un- 
divided attention right at the start, and then maintain it at 
as high a degree as possible. You won't be able to maintain 
undivided attention except in those brief three-fifths-of- 
a-second snatches. But you can make those snatches fre- 
quent, so that over a period of ten minutes, fifteen minutes, 
an hour even, you have such a high degree of attention 
that the buyer follows you closely, hangs on every word 
you say. 

That is what we mean by undivided attention in selling. 

You want to know now how you can get such attention, 
in the first place; how you can maintain it, in the second. 

For any salesman who will use it there is a way to get 
undivided attention easily, quickly, and if a salesman will 
follow that way he need never fear another bane of every 
salesman's existence— the prospect who won't listen. 

Older students of salesmanship alluded to two appeals 
to the mind. One they termed "long circuit," because it 
was addressed to the intellect. The other they called the 
"short circuit" appeal. It was addressed to the senses. 

While this terminology is old-fashioned, the idea is still 
good. The salesman appealing to the intellect of the pros- 
pect and relying on talk in making his approach is follow- 
ing the long circuit route. It is a good route but filled with 



detours and washouts and blind alleys which does not al- 
ways gets the salesman to his destination— attention. But if 
the salesman uses the short circuit appeal on the conscious- 
ness of his prospect, he gets undivided attention, not occa- 
sionally, but every time. 

There are five of these short circuits or paths to atten- 
tion. The information I am going to give you here is not 
new, but it is important to repeat. These five short circuit 
paths are known as the senses. You know the names of the 
five senses— seeing, hearing, feeling, tasting, touching. Any 
one of these senses carries the power of registering its 
weight immediately on the brain and of winning undivided 

To be practical, let us say that you, in lighting your pipe, 
become so engrossed in what you are saying to your com- 
panion that you forget to throw the match away and it 
burns your finger. Can you ignore that appeal to the 
senses? Not at all. Everything else in your life fades now— 
your whole consciousness is focused on the little spot on 
your finger where the match has burned. Or suppose that 
a bright light flashes suddenly in your eyes. No matter 
what you were thinking about previously, for the moment 
everything is banished but that white bar of light. It is the 
same with every other sense: if it is assailed by some outside 
cause, you must yield your undivided attention. 

Good salesmen for that reason always use the direct sense 
appeal in the approach in order that they may be sure of 
attention right from the start. 

There is one other form of attack on the prospect's con- 
sciousness that wins attention in the form the salesman 



needs. It is the appeal tothecurjos^. Good salesmen real- 
ize the power ot this appeal and use it also in their ap- 
proaches. And when curiosity and the appeal to the senses 
are linked, you have the most powerful combination that 
can be formed in winning attention. 

An important business man was telling me how a sales- 
man had used curiosity in making a sale to him. He was 
sitting in his office when a timid little fellow entered, 
glanced furtively around the room, asked: "We're alone, 
aren't we?" 

The businessman was in the midst of important cerebra- 
tion but he dropped everything and gave his attention 
wholeheartedly to the caller. 

"Yes. Why?" he asked. 

"I want to make sure," said the salesman. He whispered 
almost. "You see, I am an ex-burglar. Just got out of San 

"Oh!" exclaimed the businessman. 

"I have been making a survey of your place here," con- 
tinued the ex-burglar. He had perfect attention by now. 
"I am sorry I have decided to play it straight from now on, 
for this place would be a push-over for any burglar— I'm 
selling burglar alarms now." 

The businessman bought. 

For the time and place, the little ex-burglar used a per- 
fect approach— one based upon curiosity. 

A salesman I know made a bank president's income for 
years selling a gadget in the form of coveralls for motor- 
ists. It was a tricky thing without a back; just the front 
half of a pair of khaki coveralls with a spring at the top to 



go around the waist and two springs to go around the 
ankles. It was not easy to sell. 

But this salesman worked out an approach which made 
not buying his coveralls almost impossible. 

When he entered an office he held his right hand behind 
him. Then he uttered one word: "Look!" 

Everybody looked. With a motion so fast it baffled the 
eye, the salesman slipped into his coveralls. 

"You see," he continued; "no struggling to get into these 
when you change a tire. No buttons to fumble with. No 
zippers to zip. Presto! You're in it!" 

"How much?" asked the customer. 

"Dollar and a half." 

And thus was his sale made. For years he told me he sold 
four out of six prospects. His approach was right, you see 
—he got undivided, relevant attention right off the bat. 

Another famous approach that got the same kind of at- 
tention was the one which introduced the Iver Johnson 
revolver some years ago. This weapon was built on a new 
safety principle: the hammer did not rest on the firingpin 
but on a wall of steel above the firingpin, which made dis- 
charge impossible except when the trigger was pulled. 

But the company found it difficult to explain this to 
hardware dealers, and the revolver wasn't selling very well 
until a bright sales manager created a curiosity-and-sense- 
appeal approach that dramatized the story and jarred the 
dealer out of his indifference. This is the way the approach 

The salesman on entering the store would ask: "Got 
any 38's?" 


[ 98 ] 


"I want a box." 

"Here you are." 

Deliberately he would remove five cartridges from the 
box, load the revolver in front of the prospect's eyes and 
then ask: "Let me have a hammer, will you?" When the 
mystified and by now slightly frightened hardware man 
would produce a hammer, the salesman would put the 
muzzle of the loaded revolver against his knee and proceed 
to hammer the hammer vigorously. 

"Accidental discharge is impossible," he would explain. 
"Hammer and hammer and nothing happens." 

Another salesman used the direct sense-curiosity appeal 
in selling a line of canned salmon. He would ask the grocer 
if he had a store cat. Every grocer has a cat. When the cat 
was brought forth from its bed on the sugar sack in the 
back room and thoroughly awakened, the salesman would 
buy a can of salmon from the grocer. 

"You pick out the brand you consider your best," the 
salesman would say. 

"Now I am going to show you something," he con- 

By now the grocer and his clerks were all standing 
around. The salesman would open the can of salmon he 
had bought. Then he would open a can of his own salmon. 
Then he would put both on the floor two or three feet 

"Now turn the cat loose, will you?" he would ask. 

The cat, smelling fish, would go to one or the other of 
the open cans. By the law of averages the salesman knew 
the cat would select his salmon as often as the other. In 
that case, he'd praise the cat as a judge of good fish. If the 



cat, however, went to the other can, the salesman would 
turn it aside by laughingly remarking: "Fin not surprised. 
It's been so long since that cat has had any good salmon, he 
has forgotten how it smells." 

Perhaps the most famous approach ever used was that 
which was worked out by a sales manager for a line of 
expensive saws his firm had produced. The prospects were 
hard-boiled hardware merchants who had more saws on 
hand than they could possibly sell. Introducing a premium 
line of saws meant hard selling. But the approach which 
was worked out was so cogent that the line went over in 
the face of the strongest competition, and became one of 
the selling successes of the industry. 

When the saw salesman greeted the prospect he would 
always ask a guileless question: "Have you an organiza- 
tion here that can sell a high-grade saw?" 

That sounds like a simple question without much power, 
doesn't it? But just try to answer it either with a yes or a 
no and not incriminate yourself. 

Suppose the dealer answers, "Yes." Well, the salesman 
has him. The salesman then says: "Fine. Then you'll appre- 
ciate the quality of this saw," putting the saw into the 
dealer's hands, thus invoking the direct sense appeal. 

If the dealer should answer, "No"— but no dealer could 
answer, "No." His pride wouldn't let him. Instead of an 
outright "No" the dealer might counter with some such 
remark as this: "We've got such a saw now." Pleasantly 
the salesman would say: "I guess I haven't made myself 
clear— I mean a really high-grade saw." 

Then he would produce the really high-grade saw, put it 
into the dealer's hands. The dealer couldn't escape. 



The principles of attention which I am outlining for you 
can be used by salesmen of all kinds— retail, wholesale, spe- 
cialty—for they are sound and can easily be adapted to any 
line the salesman happens to represent. 

The retail salesman has some fine opportunities to create 
sales by following these attention principles. Here are some 
curiosity questions that were used in retail stores in in- 
creasing sales. 

"I beg your pardon, but do you ever have runs in your 
stocking?" That question stopped three passers out of four 
in the main aisle of a Chicago store, sold stockings to two 
out of three of those who stopped. 

"What would you say if I were to tell you there are no 
springs under this mattress?" inquired a mattress salesman 
in a furniture department. It stopped those who were walk- 
ing by, and two out of five bought. 

"Have you ever heard a record by the highest-paid dance 
orchestra in the world?" was a question that stopped and 
sold busiest shoppers in the music department of a New 
York City store. 

You can't proceed in selling without attention, and you 
don't need to try, because you can get attention easily and 
naturally if you will remember three things about atten- 
tion: i . Attention is highly transitory in its nature, lasting 
in its undivided state only a fraction of a second; 2. there 
are five ways to make sure you get attention every time— 
the five senses; 3. when you link the five senses up with 
curiosity you have an impregnable attention-getting tech- 
nique that will guarantee you more success every time you 
talk to a prospect. 

[10. i 



You read in the preceding chapter that attention is so 
fleeting it can be held for just a fraction of a second but so 
important that making a sale without it is impossible. As 
you know, the attention-getting phase of the sale is known 
as the approacK It is regarded as the most important single 

Authorities on salesmanship all agree that the salesman is 
on trial during the first thirty seconds he is in the presence 
of the prospect, that his fate is in his own hands. But I 
believe thirty seconds is far too long for this fate-deciding 
stage: I think his fate is usually decided inside of fiveorten 

There is an ideal way to conduct the approach. If the 
salesman will follow that ideal way, he will get attention, 
he will get a favorable hearing, he will get interest and co- 
operation—and he will get sales. But if he does not conduct 
his approach along the lines of the ideal, he will sell, if he 
does sell, by accident, and his success, if he is successful, 
will be a matter of pure luck. 

For many months I kept a record of the approaches 
salesmen used on me. The total number of ideal approaches 
which I encountered was pitifully small. As a matter of 
fact, only two approached the ideal. 



You might infer from the preceding paragraph that this 
ideal approach is difficult; something so complicated and 
requiring so much skill that only a mental superman or a 
consummate actor could undertake successfully. But this is 
not true at all. The ideal approach is the natural approach, 
the logical approach, the simple and common sense ap- 
proach. Maybe that is the reason why it is manhandled by 
so many salesmen. 

You will recollect that your job is to get undivided at- 
tention. You will recollect further that the way to get 
undivided attention most easily is by the use of direct sense 
appeals. It follows then that the firspculeJ&aijQLU^ 
proach is to have something to hand the prospect as early 
in the interview as possible. 

From some examples of ideal approaches that won busi- 
ness, you will see that it is possible for any salesman, work- 
ing on any proposition, with just a little ingenuity to create 
an approach with drama, life, interest, and excitement, such 
as will win the attention of any prospect, even the busiest, 
even the most insolent, even the most harried, even the 
most indifferent. 

When you go into a man's office he quickly sizes you up. 
That is natural. You size him up. That also is natural. You 
decide on such snap judgment that you like one man, don't 
like another; that such and such a man can't be trusted, 
that another is dead square. So does he. Often you have to 
retract those size-ups of yours. But you keep on making 
them nevertheless. So does the prospect. 

That is the reason why it is important to give the pros- 
pect a chance to size you up and not find you wanting to 

[io 3 ] 


create the right first impression the minute you enter his 

The vital part in creating the right first impression is the 
salesman's attitude. It should be the attitude of a dignified, 
self-confident, pleasant businessman, the equal of the 

Haste in going into an office and starting to talk too soon 
is bad. The theme of the entrance should be dignity, not 
slovenliness and haste. A salesman who came into my office 
recently won my respect before he said a word. He did it 
in the way he closed the door. There was no haste. No 
uncertainty. Just the calm, self-assured movements of a 
man who felt he had a right to be in that office with me. 
His manner sold him before he said a word. 

A great sales manager used to rehearse his men in the 
way to make an impressive entrance. He taught his men to 
advance in a swift but measured step until they were within 
three feet of the prospect's desk. Then they brought both 
feet together and stopped in a civilian version of the army 
attention position. 

Then they smiled. The smile is the next great step in the 
ideal approach— a true smile, a sincere smile, a smile that 
says to the prospect: "I am a friendly, sincere man and I 
want to be friendly. I am here to serve you. I want to 
know you better." 

Much has been written about smiles, their vital impor- 
tance in living. I think as much as anything else I have read 
about them I like the story of Emerson and his first visit 
to Europe. The great Massachusetts philosopher was wor- 
ried for fear he would not be understood and would be 

[io 4 ] 


barred from contact with the people. But his fears were 
groundless. He found that smiles, courage,, honesty, and 
kindness were universal language, and that a smile served 
aslTmagical passport the world over. 

Let us say that you have entered properly and have 
smiled at the prospect and that the stage is all set for the 
next step of your ideal approach. Usual ly it is to introduce 
yourself, for the etiquette of business requires that a man 
unmask and give his name and the name of his firm. But 
there are exceptions. Many salesmen, especially those sell- 
ing inexpensive specialties, dispense with the introduction 
stage entirely. They get right into their story. I do think, 
however, that for most approaches a swift introduction is 
necessary. Give your name clearly and distinctly, but don't 
expect it to be heard or remembered, because the prospect 
will be so busy sizing you up, many times he won't hear 
what you say. 

The next question is to decide whether you should shake 
hands with your prospect. 

It depends on conditions. Some salesmen barge in with 
their hand extended, offering to shake hands with every- 
body under all conditions. But that isn't always good. Some 
men abhor handshaking. You may remember that George 
Washington at official and social gatherings alike would 
stand with his hands behind him, not offering to shake 
hands with anybody. Some businessmen are like that. I 
knew one, a successful man, who was so fanatic on the 
subject of shaking hands that should a salesman proffer his 
hand, that salesman was through so far as the prospect was 

[io 5 ] 


Because there are doubtless many others who dislike the 
practice, a wise salesman does not insist on pumping the 
hand of every man he calls upon. He lets the prospect make 
the first break. That is the rule. Let the prospect decide. If 
he extends his hand, well and good; if not, you don't have 
to shake hands to sell. 

If the prospect offers his hand, take it in a firm but not 
painful grip; be enthusiastic but not clammy. Don't attempt 
to break his bones or make him believe you are suffering 
from permanent debility. You know, just a firm, manly 

There used to be a school of salesmanship, a completely 

benighted group, that believed in the hypnotic stare. Sales- 
men who were followers of that belief would try fixing 
their eyes directly on the prospect and keeping them fixed 
until he shifted his gaze. This was known as the "eye- 
lock." It was supposed to have marvelous powers in 
making sales. 

What those salesmen did not consider is that it caused 
embarrassment and annoyance to the prospect, and killed 
more sales than it made. Good salesmen are rational in the 
use of the eyelock. When they glance at a prospect, they 
catch his eyes, hold them momentarily, not long enough 
to embarrass him, then glance somewhere else. 

Everything you have done up to this point in the ap- 
proach is preliminary: the ideal approach begins when 
these things are out of the way. 

Then comes the curiosity-arousing question. Next comes 
the appeal to the senses. These two points (or factors) will 
get your man with you a hundred per cent, win his un- 




divided attention. And that is all there is to the ideal 

Now look at some practical examples of salesmen who 
have utilized the principles in increasing their sales. 

A salesman selling kitchen cabinets wholesale could not, 
of course, show a complete cabinet to his prospect. But he 
needed the undivided attention which only a direct sense 
appeal can bring. He had to solve his problem in some way. 
He did it by carrying a patent corner his product featured. 
Handing that to the prospect he would inquire: "Can you 
imagine a stronger joint than this?" Undivided attention 

A milling salesman carried a pocketful of wheat. "Hold 
out your hand," he commanded his prospects smilingly. 
Into the hand he poured grains of his wheat. "-Tell me 
what you think of this wheat," he would say and add: "We 
buy the cream of the crop to make Marigold Flour." 

A salesman selling milk machinery in the early days of 
the pasteurization process built his approach around a milk 
bottle top, on which the word pasteurized was printed. He 
circled the word in red, handed the bottle top to his pros- 
pects with this question; "How much a year would it be 
worth to you to have that name on your bottle tops?" That 
got him attention all right. 

A shoe salesman used a sawed-in-half shoe to point out 
construction; a pump salesman used a cut-away model of 
his pump. Other salesmen have found that models of such 
kind are indispensable in getting attention. 

Some salesmen of services— such as stocks and bonds and 
life and health and accident and fire insurance— are going 

[io 7 ] 


to interpose a remark here that it is all well and good when 
you sell something that can be seen and felt, but what 
about the man who sells a service? What has he to show, 
to hand the prospect? 

With just a little ingenuity and imagination he can con- 
trive attention-getters that are fully as good as the tangible 
products of other salesmen. 

A health and accident man in San Francisco uses news- 
paper clippings in his ideal approaches. He takes the ac- 
count of automobile accidents from the paper, draws a red 
ink line around them, hands them to the prospect with a 
remark like this: "I suppose you saw this in the Chronicle 
last night. It makes a fellow think of his own safety, doesn't 
it, to read an account like that." Which leads right into 
what he is selling. 

One of the cleverest direct-sense appeals for a service 
was worked out by a young insurance friend of mine, spe- 
cializing in policies to new home owners. A camera fiend, 
he took pictures of new houses, found out their owners, 
called on the owners with an enlarged picture of the home. 
Putting this picture in front of the prospect he would ask: 

"Ever see that house?" 

The surprised owner would exclaim: "Why, that's my 
house, isn't it?" 

"It is." 

"Where did you get the picture?" 

"I took it. I called to talk to you about that new home 
of yours." 

He was thus into his story under the most favorable cir- 
cumstances imaginable. 

[ 108] 


I could add dozens of examples to the few I have given, 
but it would be to no good purpose. Your own approach 
can easily be worked out, based upon the simple principles 
of the ideal approach. If you do work it out, you will be 
astonished at how easy it is to get— and keep— the attention 
of prospects. They really are putty in the hands of the 
salesman who uses direct sense appeals. 

Earlier in this chapter I said I would describe the two 
approaches that had been used on me which I regarded as 

The first was made by a middle-aged woman selling the 
services of a letter shop. She came into my office, smiled, 
handed me a letter and asked: "How would you like to 
have the form letters you send out look as good as this 

I couldn't brush her off by telling her I wasn't interested. 
I had to look at her letter, for she put it right into my hand. 
Her approach had everything— curiosity, direct sense ap- 
peal, and it added, for good measure, a challenge. And what 
man can resist a challenge? 

She got my undivided attention. 

I remember most vividly the other salesman who made 
a good approach; he was a big timer, selling advertising 
for a national magazine. 

When he came in he said: "Would you like to meet the 

"Who are the Wilsons?" 

"I'll show you." 

And he thereupon put cutouts on my desk of these 
Wilsons, a typical family of readers of his magazine; the 

[ 109] 


interesting and prosperous Wilsons, with their ample in- 
come, their cars, their children, their vacation trips, and 
their other purchases. 

He also got undivided attention. 

The others who did not get it I have forgotten by now. 
They failed with me because they didn't master the simple 
steps— the easy, everyday steps to the ideal approach. 

I am sure that any salesman who will think just a little 
bit about staging his approach, utilizing the properties I 
have supplied by this chapter, will find that getting atten- 
tion and starting his presentation on the most favorable 
basis will become ridiculously easy. 




The one thing most salesmen dread to have happen dur- 
ing the approach is an interruption. Interruptions are bad 
enough at any time. When they occur before the stage is 
set, however, it may be the final curtain to the sale before 
the first curtain is drawn. 

For that reason every successful salesman I have known 
has tried to have on tap at all times a few techniques for 
overcoming any interruptions during the first few seconds. 

The worst of these interruptions are those of the pros- 
pect himself— what he decided in his mind. This is your old 
friend the involuntary no again, you see. The prospect 
listens for a few seconds, uses his best grade of snap judg- 
ment, decides he is not interested, and says so. 

You are floored before you can get off a blow— unless 
you can do something to forestall that interruption. One 
way is to pretend you don't hear it— go right on talking. 
Maybe you can intrigue him enough to cause him to forget 
he is not interested. 

If this method doesn't work and he continues to tell you 
he is not interested, your best technique is to tell him you 
are sorry to hear that, but after all he is the one to judge 



whether he is interested or not, and start to pack up your 
samples. Only don't leave. Try again for his interest. Good 
salesmen use this continually. 

Another way is to face him with a question, after smiling 
and pausing to make him wonder what is coming next. 
Your question will run something like this: "You say you 
are not interested. Do you mean you are not interested in 
making more money? That is really all I came here to talk 
to you about— how you can make more money. I don't 
really think you mean you are not interested, do you, 
Mr. Jewett?" 

Another form of interruption that is first cousin to the 
not interested type is the one consisting of the words: 
"Well, what kjt?" He may be a little more wasteful of 
words and say: "Just tell me what it is in a nutshell," but it 
means the same thing. The salesman who attempts to epito- 
mize his story makes no sales. Good salesmen don't try. 
Instead, a good salesman will smile and say: "I judge it 
will take about ten minutes to answer that question. If you 
haven't the time now, I'll come back. But I should prefer 
to tell you the story now on account of recent develop- 
ments in Washington that affect my proposition and you." 

The rule is not to let them force you to speak in a hurry 
but to insist upon haying the interview on a sound basis. 

Another form of the prospect's interruption comes 
when the prospect insists on keeping a few jumps ahead of 
you. He says: "Oh, advertising. I don't want any advertis- 
ing." The way to spike this one is to smile, pause, say: 
"Pardon me, Mr. Barclay, but while this does resemble ad- 
vertising, it is not advertising. It is something more. Some- 



thing I know will make you money. It will take me only 
five minutes to explain how." 

Interruptions from the outside are common also and 
salesmen who never learn how to sell in spite of interrup- 
tions never learn how to make the most of their oppor- 

Consider a few of these outside interruptions. First is 
the telephone interruption, a perennial offender. The sales- 
man barely gets started when the infernal 'phone rings. 
The prospect answers. When the conversation is over his 
mind is on everything else in his life but the salesman and 
the salesman's proposition. 

Sometimes the outside influence is the secretary. In she 
comes— often by pre-arrangement and on signal— and re- 
minds the prospect of an important meeting he is overlook- 
ing. Or it may be that a department manager comes in 
and complains that delivery of raw materials has been de- 
layed. No matter what form the outside interruption takes, 
it puts the salesman on the spot. 

The rule for handling such things is the same. Youiiaye 
to re gain attenti on. To talk before you do regain attention 
is to waste your words, your time, your chances to sell. So 
you must regain attention before you proceed. But how? 
Well, regaining attention and gaining attention are the 
same. How to gain attention you already know— focus his 
mind on one particular thing by using an appeal to his 

If in the approach your man slips away from you— men- 
tally of course— you have to snare him when he comes back 
by following the same ritual you used in the first place. 



Example: The salesman picks up the sample on the pros- 
pect's desk, looks admiringly at it, says something like this: 
"You will never find a bearing with that some quality no 
matter how far you look or how much you pay, Mr. Oliver. 
That's a real bearing. Note this ..." pointing out a fea- 
ture previously mentioned. 

That puts the interview back on the track and the 
salesman, once he is sure of his attention again, can start 
building from there. 

Another tested technique is that of quoting a man's own 
words when he comes back from the interruption. You will 
rarely fail with this technique. It is flattering and power- 
ful. Suppose your prospect has left you to answer the 
'phone. When he hangs up and regards you again, after 
focusing his attention once more on the product, you say: 
"You said something just a moment ago, Mr. Thompson, 
that I was busy turning over in my mind while you were 
talking. You said . . ." And then quote his own words 
and commend his opinion. 

The trick of quoting a man's words to him is useful to 
employ at all times during the sale, in combatting objec- 
\ tions, and even in closing. It is one of the tricks of the 
\4nitiates of salesmanship. 

Too many salesmen invite interruptions, even during 
the first few minutes of the approach, by boring the pros- 
pect with talk. They talk tiresomely about the goods, talk 
inanimatedly, talk at great length. And wonder why they 
lose the prospect. 

How much better is the plan followed by top salesmen 
of treating the prospect as a partner rather than as a lis- 



tener. They keep him in the picture. The whole secret of 
handling people, indeed, seems to be that of keeping their 
viewpoint in front of you and talking about the things 
they are interested in. In other words, make the talk re- 
volve around the prospect. 

Some one has said that a good lawyer addresses only 
one member of the jury— that member is yourself. The 
other eleven men don't understand him, but you do. The 
secret of a good actor is the same: he speaks the lines for 
only one person in the audience— the man in Row J, Seat 4. 
That is your seat. A good salesman follows the same tech- 
nique, keeping the prospect in the picture every minute of 
the time. 

Good salesmen watch the prospect closely during this 
vital approach stage, ready to sense when he is likely to 
lose attention and bring up an interruption. In time the 
salesman can develop a sixth sense that guards him against 
interruptions and warns him when they are impending. 
If the salesman senses an interruption is forthcoming, he 
does something to forestall it. 

What does he do? He asks a qualifying question. 

Maybe I can give you an example far removed from 
salesmanship in making this clearer to you. I am going to 
pick my example from the prize ring. You have read about 
how Jim Jeffries, perhaps the most formidable of heavy- 
weight champions, was beaten by Jack Johnson, the first 
colored heavyweight champion. That is the fight I am 
going to draw on for my example. 

Many persons thought that Jeffries, with his bulk, his 
inordinate strength, his punching power would win, but 



those who knew Johnson believed that he was crafty- 
enough to think his way through the giant boilermaker. 
And he was. He handled poor "old" Jeff (Jeffries was 3 5 
at the time) as though he were a tyro, hit him at. will, wore 
him down, knocked him out. It was his technique of wear- 
ing Jeffries down that interests you and me here. 

Every time Jeffries got ready to strike a blow, Johnson 
would beat him to the punch. For this purpose Johnson 
used a straight left, shooting it out at Jeff's head, literally 
wearing him down by being just one blow ahead of him all 
through the fight. 

But what has that to do with selling? This. A good sales- 
man keeps on the alert. Whenever he thinks the buyer is 
about ready to interpose an objection or an interruption, 
he asks a qualifying question. This puts the buyer right 
back into the picture, where he belongs. Do you see the 
relationship between this technique and Jack Johnson's 
"qualifying" left jab? 

"I think that applies right down to the last dot to your 
situation here, don't you, Mr. Crisman?" is a typical qual- 
ifying question to stop an interruption. 

"I know what you are wondering, Mr. Ireson: you are 
wondering just where this policy will help you, aren't you? 
I am coming to that now," is another. 

Such questions as these, asked at the right time, put the 
buyer off his stride, forestall his interruption. Always re- 
member this about interruptions: it is much easier to an- 
swer one before it occurs than afterward, for if the^Bvrye*— ■ 
ever gets what psychologists call a mental "set" against 



you or your proposition, you will have a job getting him 
back to a receptive state. 

Good salesmen don't fear interruptions. They know 
how to handle them. That is why they don't fear them. 
Every salesman should have a half dozen qualifying ques- 
tions on the tip of his tongue to ask the prospect when the 
prospect interrupts or acts as though he were going to. 

But if the worst comes to pass and the interruption is 
raised, the salesman should not give up without a fight. He 
should try two or three times to get back on the track 
before he gives up. And if he gives up it should be only 
for the time being. He should, even as he leaves an unsuc- 
cessful interview, be making plans in his mind of when he 
is going to return and make the sale. 

There are times when it is impossible to get the undi- 
vided attention of a prospect or when an interruption is 
impossible to overcome then and there. At such times, it 
is the best part of valor to withdraw, leaving the door open, 
figuratively, for another try later. 




A salesman representing a national publishing firm came 
in to see me. He fumbled around in his brief case, found 
what he was looking for, pulled out a coupon, pushed it 
into my face and said, in the manner of a radio district at- 
torney cross-examining a culprit: "You wrote this, didn't 

I examined it and replied: "Yes." 

"It" was a coupon I had clipped from a magazine and 
mailed in for a free booklet offered by the publisher. The 
salesman was following up the inquiry. 

While I do not think his inept approach is by any means 
typical of salesmen who work by inquiry, I do believe 
there is a vast amount of lost motion and waste in the fol- 
lowing up of inquiries. 

The philosophy of this system of selling is airtight. 
Salesmen waste no time in working on unqualified pros- 
pects; they call only on those who have qualified them- 
selves and evinced enough interest in the proposition to 
mail in an inquiry asking for more information; their ra- 
tiq of closures should be much higher than that of any 
other salesmen. And it undoubtedly is. 

The salesman I have just told you about muffed his big 
chance, threw away his big advantage by embarrassing me 



at the outset. Don't ask me why I am uncomfortable when 
a salesman confronts me with a coupon I have signed or a 
letter I have written, but I am. Although I know that these 
things will eventually get into the hands of salesmen and 
that I will eventually see the salesmen, I don't like to have 
them flaunted in my face or used as evidence that I am go- 
ing to buy. Nor do other prospects I have discussed the 
subject with. 

Qaj£ks94wulfing of the approach is only one cause of 
lost sales in working on inquirers. SI o wn essoin fol lowing 
up the inquiry is another. Often a prospect will wait six, 
eight weeks before a salesman calls. There's a time when 
the prospect is "hot," when selling him is easy. That time 
is usually thre e or fou r Hay,^ afte r he gets the literature and * 
reads it. Then his ardor begins to cool. Only by fanning 
it violently into white heat again can the salesman make 
the sale. And not always then. Sometimes the fire has gone 
completely out. So. the first rule is to follo w them up 

The ideal approach for the salesman in calling on an in- 
quiry lead is different from the ideal approach used in mak- 
ing other contacts. 

The first thing for the salesman to do is to acknowl- 
edge that he is calling in response to an inquiry by the pros- 
pect. He should not be so blatant and awkward about it as 
my book salesman and flash a coupon in the prospect's 
face. But the salesman should have the prospect understand 
that he is seeing him at the prospect's tacit invitation. 

One of the most effective inquiry approaches ever 
worked out— it has been used for years— was that used by 



salesmen selling the famous Five Foot Shelf of Books, 
edited by the late Dr. Charles Eliot. After introducing 
himself one of the salesmen would say: "We were very 
glad to learn of your interest in Dr. Eliot's work, and I 
came in to find out if there is any additional information 
I can give you." 

That approach has everything. It is dignified. It is con- 
cise. It acknowledges the inquiry and puts the responsi- 
bility for the salesman's call where it belongs, on the pros- 
pect's shoulders. And it is a perfect lead-in for the sales- 
man's next step, which is to show the prospect a copy of 
one of the books and a stretcher of the backs of the entire 
set. From there he goes into his story. 

Any salesman working on inquiries could very well take 
this as a model to guide him in preparing his own inquiry 
approach talk. 

If the salesman will keep in mind just this difference be- 
tween an inquiry call and a direct call without the inquiry, 
he will have no difficulty in working from inquiries : Ac- 
knowledge the interest of the prospect first and then pro- 

(ceed as you would in any other approach, making use of 
the direct sense appeal always. 

Too many salesmen regard an inquiry as tantamount to 
a sale, and skip over the important approach step. This is 
always a mistake. The inquirer may have forgotten all 
about sending in the coupon. He may not have received 
the booklet he wrote for. He may not have read it if he has 
received it. The salesman cannot assume either interest in 
or a knowledge of his proposition when he calls. He should 
assume instead that the prospect is just as uninformed as 



any other prospect, and tell a complete story— beginning 
with the right approach. 

Now and then the salesman misjudges the inquirer and 
tells a full story to a man who needs only part of it told. I 
recall reading about the experience of a salesman selling a 
correspondence course in law. His prospect was a success- 
ful businessman, who wanted to study law only because he 
felt it would help him in his business, not because he 
wanted to become a lawyer. The salesman who followed 
up the inquiry did not, however, take the trouble to size 
up the situation. He gave him the "works," talked to him 
as he would talk to a poorly-paid clerk with aspirations to 
become a lawyer, gave him a success talk on the advantage 
of the law as a career. 

All this time the businessman sat and looked and lis- 
tened impatiently. Then he spoke. "Young man, I am 
busy, as you can see," he declared. "I want to buy your 
law course and will do so if you will keep still long enough 
to let me sign an order. I am not interested in becoming a 
lawyer, but I still want to buy your course. Will you let 

Such situations do not occur often, but the salesman 
must be on the alert to sense the prospect's interest when- 
ever they do. For nine p rospects out of ten, the ful l story 
is the t hinp; for the tenth, let the salesman us e his judg- 
ment. . 

The salesman should follow up on inquiries justjas_soon.. 
as possible. But sometimes this can be too soon, before the 
prospect has received or read the literature. Most large 
firms have an inquiry-handling procedure which brings the 



inquiry to the salesman's hands a week or ten days after 
literature has been sent. 

Sometimes the prospect will use as a stall, the fact that he 
hasn't had a chance to read the literature. "Oh, yes, I did 
send for something," he will say. "It's somewhere here 
in my desk. I haven't had a chance to read it yet." When 
that happens the salesman should say something like this: 
"It will save your time as long as I am here if I just run 
over the booklet with you." This is much better than let- 
ting him put you out and coming back for a later interview, 
as he will often suggest. 

Another source of leads is the reference lead. 

A woman, when you ask her if she knows a friend who 
might be interested in your product, following the endless- 
chain method, says: "Yes, I have a friend over on Elm 
Street who needs a machine. Her name is Mrs. Naylor. 
She lives at 2589 Elm." 

This is a bjon^Jd^Js^-, a preferred prospect, a chance 
for a good salesman to make a sale. He calls not as a stran- 
ger, but as a friend of a friend. The stage is all set for him, 
don't you see? 

Many salesmen, I am sorry to say, spoil their chances 
of selling Mrs. Naylor because they are not adroit enough 
in their approach to her. The danger is that if the salesman 
says bluntly: "Mrs. Naylor, my name is Freeman. Mrs. 
Read over on Bellaire Street said you needed a washing 
machine. I represent Household Helpers, Incorporated. 
I want to show you our layout." Mrs. Naylor may become 
suspicious and wonder whether her friend Mrs. Read 



isn't presuming a lot to suggest that a salesman call on her. 
In the back of her head she may also be wondering what 
Mrs. Read is going to get out of the deal. 

Likely as not she will tell the salesman: "Oh, Mrs. Read 
is mistaken. I have a good washing machine," or give some 
other specious reason that leaves the salesman out in the 

There is an adroitness in following up these inquiry 
leads, and a salesman who wants to use the endless-chain 
method of prospection or the user-to-user method or in 
any other way follow the system of making one prospect 
create more prospects, would do well to master a pattern 
to use in his approach. 

The first form of this pattern is that the approach be in- 
direct!, not direct. People resent others interfering with 
their business. You yourself do. But the interest of the 
other person can be acknowledged in a gentle way, the 
name of the other person introduced so subtly that it 
causes no resentment, only friendliness. 

Since we are talking about selling Mrs. Naylor a wash- 
ing machine, let us take a reference lead approach worked 
out and in use successfully. Notice how adroitly and gently 
the salesman leads up to the fact that a friend of Mrs. Nay- 
lor's has referred him to her. 

The salesman begins: "I hope you will pardon me but 
my name is Gilbert Freeman, and I want to ask whether 
you have a satisfactory laundress." 

If she replies: "We do our own washing," he can then 
bring in the name of his reference by saying: "So does 



Mrs. Read over on Bellaire Street. She uses a Paragon 
Washer and thought you might be interested in her expe- 
rience, Mrs. Naylor." 

If Mrs. Naylor replies that she does have a satisfactory 
laundress, the salesman has lost no advantage. He merely 
responds: "Mrs. Read over on Bellaire Street was not sure, 
and she wanted me to tell you of her experience. She uses 
a Paragon Washer. She says she will never send her wash- 
ing out again." 

At this point the salesman hands Mrs. Naylor a testi- 
monial letter, thus invoking the sense of sight, which, as 
you know, is powerful. 

The sale is now on an even keel, and the salesman is well 
started on the road to getting the prospect's interest. 

You will see from the preceding dialogue there is a cer- 
tain finesse in following up these reference leads and that it 
is important for a salesman to master its use. It is never safe 
to "bull your way through" and talk without thinking. 
There are too many opportunities of offending the pros- 
pect by linking her up with another person. But an adroit, 
delicate approach, introducing the name of the reference 
indirectly, will bring satisfying results. 

There are some salesmen who believe so wholeheartedly 
in calling by reference that they create the reference when 
none exists. An awkward insurance man told me recently: 
"I am calling on you at the suggestion of a friend of yours. 
He bought our policy. He thinks you ought to have one." 

"Is that so?" I responded. "Who is this friend of mine 
you have been talking to?" 

"I can't tell you that." 



"Why not?" 

"He asked me not to." 

"You don't really expect me to believe that, do you?" 

"Why, of course." 

"I don't." 

That is exactly what you would have said; what any man 
of any spirit would have said. But apparently this form of 
deceit must work, for a good many salesmen use it. It is 
not, however, a good selling practice. 

If a salesman ca n work from legitimate inquiries or leads 
he is a whole step ahead of a salesman who works in any 
other way. The fact that the prospect has shown enough 
interest in the product to write for more information or to 
telephone for it shows that the first step to the sale is un- 
der way— qualified attention. Let the salesman in follow- 
ing up these leads use the same soft, gentle touch of an 
experienced riding master in training a high-strung Arabian 
horse, with the same "light hand," and not with the slam- 
bang rein-pulling of a cowboy riding a bronco, and he'll 
win sales and friends. For if finesse is required anywhere 
in salesmanship, it is in working inquiries and reference 




The instruction manual for salesmen of one of the out- 
standing selling organizations in the country contains this 
significant sentence: "No salesman should ever make a call 
without first having secured a definite appointment." Sales- 
men who work for that firm know that the line means 
what it says: salesmen who ignore or violate it are dropped 
from the pay roll. 

Another firm I know, while not quite so dogmatic in 
its insistence on appointment-calling, impresses upon its 
salesmen the fact that if they work by appointment they 
will save at least one-third of their selling time. 

The advantages of working by appointment are so ap- 
parent that the salesman will see it is one of the best ways 
of working in the whole field of selling. Appointments 
save time. That is important. A salesman can schedule a 
series of appointments throughout the day, cut down his 
waste calls almost to nothing. Appointments dignify the 
salesman and his proposition. And to me this is almost as 
important as saving his time. 

A salesman who sneaks in as if he didn't belong there, 
with the furtiveness of a man who has broken a law, may 
assume the status of a professional man before the inter- 



view is over. Or he may not. He may just be a peddler or a 
canvasser. But when one businessman telephones another, 
gets an appointment, and calls, he comes as an equal. Fur- 
thermore, he has no secretary or office boy trouble. "Have 
you an appointment with Dr. Mathews?" asks the girl. 
"My appointment is for 10:15," responds the salesman. 
"Please tell him that Joseph Andrews is here." He goes 
right in. 

Appointments also put selling on a surer basis. If a sales- 
man can close only one in ten interviews working catch- 
as-catch-can, he should close one in six or seven by ap- 
pointment: first, because one who gives an appointment 
is partially qualified; second, because the appointment 
promises something interesting and k is easier to develop 
a prospect's interest under such conditions. 

Some propositions require appointment selling— usually 
those of a service nature, such as financial and tax service, 
office systems, and the like. But any proposition, except 
one which requires regular calling, such as the pick-up 
order salesman working a regular territory or a salesman 
calling house to house, can be more successfully sold by 

There's an art to making appointments. Salesmen recog- 
nize four ways to make them. These are: 1. the telephone, 
2. the call in person, 3. the after hours call at the prospect's 
home, and 4. the letter. 

Most appointments are m ade by telephone. In a previ- 
ous chapter the third-person strategy was suggested by 
having someone call to make an appointment for you. Al- 
though that chapter was concerned with making appoint- 



ments with big men, the advice applies to any prospect. I 
know many salesmen who never call for appointments 
themselves, but have their secretaries call for them. 

Some salesmen like to call in person for appointments. 
On Monday they call to make appointments for Tuesday 
or Wednesday, always working a day or two ahead. The 
advantage of the personal call is that it enables the pros- 
pect to meet the salesman and size him up. Another ad- 
vantage: Often he is so grateful that you are not going to 
take up his time then and there that he gives an appoint- 
ment more willingly. 

Some salesmen even go so far as to carry appointment 
books, so stamped on the cover in gold lettering. When 
the salesman calls, he says: "Mr. Robinson, I should like 
an appointment with you for tomorrow morning." He 
takes out the appointment book, opens it. "What time will 
be most satisfactory, Mr. Robinson? How is fifteen min- 
utes after eleven?" There being no objection, he writes 
that down. And then leaves. "Thank you, Mr. Robinson. 
See you tomorrow." 

He uses the same technique when he calls on the secre- 
tary. The appointment book often impresses her more 
than it does the boss. She is used to appointment books, re- 
spects them. 

Many salesmen I know use evening hours for making 
appointments. Quite often they will call at the homes of 
their prospects for this purpose. They call, state their pur- 
pose, ask for an appointment for the next day. In a large 
city this is, naturally, not practicable, but in smaller towns 
it works out very well. Often the prospect will invite the 



salesman to sit down and talk awhile. The salesman re- 
frains from talking business. That is left for tomorrow, 
when the appointment takes place. 

The letter is a useful means of asking for appointments. 
It is so useful I wonder that more salesmen do not write 
more letters for this purpose. 

There is a certain knack to writing a good appointment 
letter, and the knack consists of being positive and setting 
adefin jrjs tim e. The idea is to phrase your letter in such a 
way that the prospect must give his consent to see you, or 
write you a letter that he cannot see you. 

The wording of such a letter may run like this: "May 
I have an appointment at your convenience, some time this 
week, preferably Wednesday at 2 o'clock? Briefly, here 
is the specific suggestion which I have (then follows some 
"tea ser copy" to arouse the prospect's curiosity but not tip 
the salesman's hand) .... Will Wednesday at 2 o'clock 
be satisfactory?" 

When the salesman calls for his appointment, his ap- 
proach is the same as in making any other approach, ex- 
cept that in his first words he expresses gratitude for the 
appointment. "I appreciate very much, Mr. Dye, the time 
you are giving me this morning," he might say, and then 
go on with his regular approach, riveting the attention of 
the buyer and utilizing the principles of the ideal approach 
right straight through. 

There are some prospects with whom an appointment is 
difficult to make, with whom it may seem next to impos- 
sible. They keep putting the salesman off. "Call me next 
week. I'm going up to Lansing this week," they say. The 



next week the salesman calls again. Another stall. This can 
go on for weeks, months if the salesman will let it. Some 
prospects have worked out impregnable stalls to keep sales- 
men at arm's length. 

A salesman lives in a fool's paradise as long as he be- 
lieves trustingly that when he calls next week he's going 
to get his appointment. It doesn't work out that way with 
prospects who make a profession of stalling. The salesman 
must do something more than merely ask for an appoint- 
ment, or he doesn't get an appointment. 

Some salesmen feign anger. Others kid the prospect 
along. Some drop him entirely and spend their time else- 
where. One salesman, very successful in handling stallers, 
uses this good-natured way to bring them around. 

"Hello, Mr. Tilden, this is George Brownlie speaking. 
I've been pursuing you relentlessly. Remember me? Now, 
about that appointment. How about tomorrow morning 
at nine-thirty? No? Would the afternoon be better? No? 
Well, what about right now?— I can get over in ten min- 
utes. Too busy now? 

"Well, Mr. Tilden, I shall need less time than the sum 
of our phone conversations to date. Can't you squeeze me 
in for a few minutes? If we can't finish up what we have to 
say to each other we can at least lay a foundation. When 
can we make it? 

"Call you next week? Oh, come on, now! You've been 
saying that for six months! A man carUt be as busy as all 
that. How about stealing fifteen minutes during your lunch 
time? Why not have lunch together? I'll call for you to- 



morrow at 12:15. You'd prefer one o'clock? O.K.! See 
you tomorrow at one." 

You will understand, of course, that this "rush act" 
would work with some prospects but not with others. The 
salesman has to understand the temper of the man he uses 
it on. The salesman who gets an appointment should be 
punctilious with regard to time. It is^wise to arrive a few 
minutes early. Use the few minutes in impressing the sec- 
retary. Even though you have an appointment, the pros- 
pect, when the girl comes in to announce you, may ask 
for a size-up. If you impress her properly, the sale is off 
to a better start. 

If you work by appointment you will be able to put all 
your interviews on a more substantial basis, save time and 
increase your ratio of closures, because a sale well begun 
is more than half done. 




A friend of mine had a problem on his hands when he 
was sales manager for a large packer in New Orleans. There 
was a family of Italian grocers that got recreation by beat- 
ing up his salesmen, in place of buying from them. The 
father and two or three husky sons would pick a quarrel 
with a new salesman, pounce on him. No salesman lasted 
more than two weeks. 

The easiest course would have been to strike the grocery 
off the list and let some other sales manager worry about 
medical treatment for his salesmen. But the account was 
worth fighting for and the sales manager was a fighter. 
Quitting wasn't in his makeup. 

He had a problem in aggravated form which all sales- 
men have in some form; namely, how to meet rebuffs and 
counter discourtesy. Usually these rebuffs are mental, the 
discourtesy not expressed in fisticuffs. 

The sales manager solved the case of the bellicose Italian 
family handily enough. He advertised for a new salesman 
with peculiar specifications: "must weigh at least 190 
pounds and be an experienced boxer." A former heavy- 
weight champion of the Navy answered the ad, got the job. 
On the new salesman's second call the inevitable happened: 



the Italian and his swart and husky sons began to be "dis- 
courteous" in their original way. But the Navy champ 
knew what to do. He laid them out one by one, then asked 
for an order. And got it! The packer still has that account. 

The salesman who has developed the right selling per- 
sonality and poise will not often be insulted. He will be a 
man who knows how to handle his prospects so as to make 
them like him. Besides, he'll have that attitude of self-confi- 
dence which discourages rebuffs and discourtesy. He will 
be well poised, quiet, pleasant, dignified. Like a personal- 
ity in one of Walt Whitman's great poems he will be a 
man who "calls forth the best in everybody." 

Even so, there are some persons who delight in being 
rude to salesmen and some human beings to whom courtesy 
is not a lost art but an art they have not yet discovered. A 
salesman has to take those persons in stride along with the 
decent, courteous kind— and know how to make sales to 
all types. 

Many times the buyer has worked out a discourteous 
and repellent exterior as a defense mechanism to discour- 
age salesmen. He may be gruff and growling during busi- 
ness hours, a most kindly gentleman at home. He has found 
that life is easier for him if he is gruff and growling. It's 
an act. 

But whatever the cause of the prospect's discourtesy, the 
salesman should always remember the first rule for han- 
dling all discourtesy and rebuffs— not to let them get his 
goat. A famous manufacturer who was himself a fine sales- 
man used to give this advice to salesmen on the score of 
discourtesy and rebuffs: "Never let 'em rile you." No 



matter what the prospect said, this man was composed. 
He sold because no one could get him off balance during 
a sale. 

Perhaps the most common form of discourtesy the sales- 
man has to counter in his day's work is that of the rude 
buyer who won't pay attention. 

The salesman enters. The buyer stares at him with a 
"So what?" expression on his face, then goes back imme- 
diately to what he was doing when the salesman came in- 
reading the paper, checking invoices, contemplating his 
fingernails. He doesn't look up. The salesman stands there, 
feeling about as important as a pocket in a dress shirt. 

A good many salesmen let this situation get them down 
but a wise salesman never does. He knows a simple tech- 
nique by which any salesman can outwit the discourteous 
buyer, easily put him in his place. The technique? It's sim- 
ple: merely outwait him. 

The buyer won't look up but he knows you are there 
and if you just stand and say nothing it won't be very long 
until he looks up and says: "Well, what is it? What can I 
do for you?" 

That is all a salesman asks of any prospect— attention— 
isn't it? 

One salesman I knew who was very successful in han- 
dling these boors carried the outwait step farther. He 
would withdraw to a point about three feet away, take 
some papers from his brief case, begin regarding them in- 
tently. He claimed that this brought the prospect around 
quicker: he couldn't hold out against his curiosity any 
longer, the salesman thought. Either system is good. Just, 



remain silent, say not a word, wait. Just a few moments of 
this tf eatrhenFis ail that a discourteous prospect can stand. 

Quite similar to the man who won't give you his atten- 
tion is the marathon runner type of prospect. Instead of 
standing still, he keeps moving. 

A wholesale lumber salesman told me of a prospect he 
had in New Mexico, a large retailer who owned a success- 
ful yard, over which he led the salesman at a run every 
time the salesman called. 

"I can't even catch up with him to give my sales talk, 
let alone sell him," complained the salesman. 

"What do you do, follow him?" I asked. 

"What else is there to do? Sometimes I actually get 
within shouting distance of him." 

"Have you sold him yet?" 

"Nope. I haven't caught up with him yet. But I'm in 
strict training. I think I'll catch him one of these days." 

I advised that salesman to do no more chasing after any 
prospect who won't stand still. That isn't the way to crack 
these fellows. The way is to tell them something you know 
will touch a live nerve; something personal, something they 
want to hear so badly they will forget about running away 
and will listen eagerly. 

With this New Mexico lumberman the subject was in- 
terest in his fatherland. He was a Central European, in- 
tensely interested in the ideals of his unfortunate little 
country, then overrun by the Nazis. The salesman discov- 
ered that interest, read up on the country, then confronted 
the prospect one morning and spoke a few words in his 
native language— the only words he knew. That stopped 



the peripatetic prospect dead in his tracks. They talked 
for an hour. The prospect didn't attempt to run away once. 
He gave the salesman a very satisfactory order, and has 
never since attempted to lead him on a chase through the 
lumber yard. 

Occasionally you will meet the prospect who comes to 
the railing when you call, another form of discourtesy. 
There is a simple and handy little trick which salesmen 
use in combatting this discourtesy. The salesman merely 
glances expectantly at the open door of the prospect's of- 
fice and says something like this: "I know you are busy 
and I am not going to take much of your time. But I have 
something here I want to show you. I think it will inter- 
est you. Is there some table or desk where I can quickly 
show you what I have in mind?" 

The appeal to curiosity may be strong enough to get you 
an invitation to come in. "Can't you tell me about it here?" 

"Not very well," responds the salesman. "I believe I can 
show you much more quickly than I can explain it to you." 

Usually this method will get a man in. 

Then there is the discourteous buyer who won't invite 
you to sit down. He sits. You stand. You wonder what to 
do— whether to sidle into a chair, ask if you may be seated 
or just what. 

The answer— remain standing. If you stand and he sits 
the odds are all in your favor. You are physically above 
him. If he asks you to sit, sit, but as long as he doesn't men- 
tion it, remain towering above him. This is a psychological 
advantage which helps any salesman to make more sales. 

Often the discourtesy of the buyer is not in little acts 



but in words, harsh words, insulting words, often fighting 
words. Sometimes these words are so strong that they cease 
to be discourtesies and become insults. Good salesmen are 
not dismayed even by those. They know how to handle 

The best technique for handling an insult is to meet it 
with poislTand a pause, the two devices which will over- 
come almost any situation the salesman can meet. Let us 
suppose the buyer passes an insulting remark. It is some- 
thing you could easily take offense at if you would. But 
you won't. You merely look him in the eye when he says 
it, smile and pause. A pause is the most disquieting weapon 
the salesman can use. So just pause until he starts, mentally, 
to squirm. 

What you do next will interest you, maybe astonish 
you: m erely ask hi™ fn w»tf fry? iwwh That is right. 
Have him restate it. He has insulted you. Ask him to do it 
again. This works wonders, for eight times in ten, instead 
of restating what he said, the insulter will retract. "Let's 
forget it," he will say. "I guess I spoke hastily." 

Your invitation for him to restate his insult may be 
phrased somewhat like this: "Would you mind repeating 
what you just said about my firm? I want to make sure I 
got it right. We salesmen report all such things to our 
president, and I do not want to misquote you to him. 
Please tell me again what you just said about our firm." 

Sometimes the discourteous buyer may have or may 
fancy that he has a grievance against the company. When 
the salesman calls he runs into a cascade of abuse. He 
should not wilt under it; he should stand up and smile, 



and let the buyer talk himself dry. For if he is permitted 
to "get it off his chest," the buyer may, when he has noth- 
ing more to say, become a friend and a customer once 
more. It has happened many times. 

A salesman who was successful in handling buyers that 
didn't buy from his firm for one reason or another always 
made it a point to go on the offensive. He would open his 
conversation with remarks like these: 

"I have been wondering why my house has never been 
able to sell to you, and thought I'd come in today and ask 
about it. Is it our fault? Is there some reason why you do 
not dare to do business with us?" 

The buyer will often assure the salesman that he holds 
the house in highest esteem but patronizes others. He has 
been dealing with them for years and doesn't feel like 

"I'm certainly glad to know nothing has ever happened 
to prejudice you against my people," is the salesman's re- 
tort to that. "Now it may be we can't give you any better 
service than those other people, but I have an idea we can." 

The salesman then outlines the superiority of his house 
and adds: 

"I wish you would give me a chance to demonstrate just 
how we would handle an order. If you find that you don't 
like our methods enough better than the other fellow's to 
justify you in giving us a share of your business, no harm 
will have been done. If we can't keep you as a regular cus- 
tomer, that will be our fault, not yours." 

At the beginning of this chapter it was stated that if a 
salesman will develop the proper poise and sales personal- 




ity he would seldom meet rebuffs and insults. You have 
been wondering, no doubt, what personality qualities a 
rebuffproof salesman needs. 

Dr. Donald Laird, that practical psychologist, says all 
the salesman need do is to avoid four simple traits and cul- 
tivate four other simple traits and his personality will be 
such as most people will like and respect. 

The salesman should not i. E xaggerate., 2. Make fun of 
other people behind their backs, 3 . Be sarcastic, or 4. Dom- 
ineering, rou and I both know, of course, that sometimes 
it is necessary in selling to dominate the prospect. But he 
should not know that he is being dominated, for if he does 
he will resent it. It is possible to dominate without being 
domineering. He should: 1. Do what he says he will do, 
2 . Go out of his way to help others, 3 . Make sure his ap- 
pearance is neat and tidy and 4. Smile pleasantly and often. 

Dr. Laird says these are the personality traits of good 
salesmen and that each is worth a good deal of money to 
the man who will cultivate it until it becomes a fixed part 
of his life, one of his habits of living. 




The crack salesman for a Pacific northwest fishery had 
come 1,500 miles to make a special call on an important 
prospect, a big distributor whose account he wanted. I 
was with him when he made the call. 

When he got to the distributor's place of business we 
found that fifteen minutes before two things had happened 
to our prospect: First, his cashier had absconded with 
$2,000 of the firm's money, and second, he had taken the 
prospect's wife with him when he skipped. The loss of the 
money so upset our man that getting his undivided atten- 
tion simply was not in the cards. 

Here was a situation for you! The salesman had in- 
vested several hundred dollars of his firm's money in mak- 
ing the trip, had come a long distance, and just before the 
sale had started, had found that outside influences, over 
which he had no control, had intervened to make the sale 
impossible. What should a salesman do under those condi- 
tions—try to sell, excuse himself, give it up as a bad job, 
or what? 

The salesman I was with proved himself to be a master 
who knew his business. For after a few words of sympathy 
with the prospect, he retreated, saying he would return to 

[ 140] 


the city later. Two weeks he waited. When he returned 
the difficulty had been straightened out, the prospect was 
himself again, and the salesman completed his sale. 

This anecdote proves that there are times when a sales- 
man, regardless of his skill, cannot get the undivided and 
relevant attention which every salesman needs in order to 
sell. In such situations, wise salesmen don't try to force 
attention. They know they can't. So they yield. They 
leave to come back later, or they try to make an appoint- 
ment when conditions may be running more in their favor. 

Naturally, the obstacle to attention which salesmen face 
will seldom be so formidable as the fish salesman had in his 
deluded, embezzled prospect. The principle of handling 
~-_rJie situation, however, is just the same: If you find that 
getting favorable attention is impossible, don't stay and 
hjjjrt your chances— leave and return later. 

Very often a salesman will call on a prospect to find him 
in the midst of having what businessmen, after the second 
cocktail before dinner, describe as a "terrible day"; one 
of those days when everything goes wrong. Shrewd sales- 
men always follow the rule of making an appointment for 
a future date. 

There are some prospects whose attention it is difficult 
to get during the daytime. They are always in a dither 
around their places of business. To sell to such prospects 
you have to get them away from that bewildering environ- 
ment. Some very good salesmanship is effected by sales- 
men over the luncheon table or at dinner. Here the pros- 
pect, away from his worries and the surroundings that dis- 
tract him, can relax, and listen, and decide. 



Big time selling of large blocks of stocks and bonds, 
country estates, derby prospects, and business enterprises 
is often done under a system referred to as "h ouseboat sell- 
ing." This method got its name and reached its peak dur- 
ing the piping days before 1929, when salesmen would 
invest several thousand dollars in elaborate houseboat par- 
ties for the purpose of entertaining and selling a pros- 
pect. While houseboat selling has been criticized as an eco- 
nomic waste, its principle is sound— get the prospect away 
from his accustomed surroundings where you can win his 
undivided, relevant attention. 

Sometimes during the sale or the approach the prospect 
may feign inability to give attention. He may be sincere or 
he may be using what is known as the brush-off. 

A salesman who knows his way around, while he will 
gladly leave if convinced real attention is impossible to get, 
won't let himself be kidded out of a sale by a mere brush- 
off. He'll test its veracity first. If he is convinced, on the 
other hand, that real attention is impossible to get, he will 
take the advice I have been giving here— and leave. 

The brush-off may occur before the salesman gets in to 
see the prospect. Or it may take the form of the practice 
called passing the buck. The prospect says: "No use to talk 
to me. My partner does the buying." 

Salesmen have a way of testing the veracity of that par- 
ticular brush-off. They say: "I'm glad you don't do the 
buying. I'll tell you why. I want to show this to someone 
who can give me a disinterested opinion." This puts the 
buckpasser on the spot and enables the salesman to decide 
whether he has been hearing the truth or just been getting 
a run-around. 



Occasionally what is needed when the prospect attempts 
to brush the salesman off is a show of courage such as an 
important salesman I knew in the steel industry could mus- 
ter so well. 

He was a salesman who didn't believe in being a yes-man 
to every prospect. Physically he was a large man, and that 
probably helped. But whenever the prospect would refuse 
to listen, this salesman would "stand up on his hind legs 
and fight," to a good purpose always. 

Once I heard him tell an important prospect: "If you 
think I am going to talk against inattention or half-hearted 
interest, Mr. Thomas, you are mistaken. I am more impor- 
tant to you than you are to me, and if you don't want to 
give me attention while I explain how I can make you 
money, I am not going to waste any more time in talking 
with you." 

Upon that he rose, started putting away his samples. 
The prospect became mollified and apologetic at once. It 
may have been a bluff on the salesman's part but I doubt it. 
Anyway, I know it worked. 

Sometimes during the interview the attention you got 
during the first few seconds will disappear. The rule of 
not talking against inattention still holds. Good salesmen 
know they must win this lost attention back. There are 
many ingenious ways of doing that. The best one has been 
alluded to previously: ask questions that put the buyer int< 
the picture. Another is to stop dead-still in your talk; just 
remain silent until he yields, attention again. 

There is this about attention, too, that salesmen should 
know— few salesmen make themselves interesting enough 
to the prospect. 


There are two ways, you know, to be interesting. One 
is to find out what the prospect is interested in— it is usu- 
ally himself— and talk about that. The other is to develop 
the art of saying interesting things in relation to your topic. 

This is a fine art but any salesman can master it. Few 
salesmen do. How seldom one meets a salesman who has 
the art down so pat as the little seller of brushes whom one 
writer met and tells about: 

"I discovered that he was an agent for brushes, and he 
showed me the greatest assortment of brushes I ever saw in 
all my life. He had out one of his special pets— he called it 
his 'leader'— and feeling it familiarly in his hand he instinc- 
tively began the jargon of 'well-handled and voice-worn 
phrases which went with that particular brush. 

"It was as though someone had touched a button and 
started him going. It was amazing to me that anyone in 
the world should be so much interested in mere brushes— 
until he actually began to make me feel that brushes were 
as interesting as anything else." 

As they got ready to part, the little brush salesman pre- 
sented the writer with a brush. 

"I tried in vain to thank him, but he held up his hand, 
scrambled quickly into his buggy, he took hold of one of 
my lapels, bent over, and said with the utmost seriousness: 

"No man ought to take the road without a brush. A 
good broom-brush is the world's greatest civilizer. Are 
you looking seedy or dusty— why, this brush will instantly 
make you a respectable citizen. Take my word for it, 
friend, never go into any strange house without stoppin' 
and brushin' off. It's money in your purse! You can get 

[ H4l 


along without dinner sometimes, or even without a shirt, 
but without a brush— never! There's nothin' in the world 
so necessary to rich an' poor, old an' young, as a good 

It doesn't make any difference what the salesman sells- 
it can be made interesting, fascinating, enthralling. And 
it must be made interesting, fascinating and enthralling if 
the salesman wants to get and hold attention and make 
more sales. 




To get the attention of a man the first time you call on 
him, provided you use tested means already presented in 
these pages, isn't at all difficult. But to go back to the same 
man after he has met you, listened to your talk, sized you 
up and perhaps "picked" your mind requires a good deal 
more skill. 

That is the reason why successful salesmen pay so much 
attention to the recalls— the second, third, fourth, tenth, 
sixtieth call they make on prospects. 

These salesmen know that unless they are perennially 
interesting and stimulating to the prospect or customer 
they will never attain success. 

An outstanding sales manager I know keeps asking his 
salesmen: "How interesting do you make your tenth call 
on a man? Is he still eager to see you?" Then the sales man- 
ager adds: "Any fool can interest a man the first time. It's 
the novelty then. The test comes when the prospect knows 
you well enough to have that contempt which we know 
familiarity brings. How interesting are you to him then?" 

The fact that the buyer knows you so well after you 
have called on him several times is not the only reason 
why recalls are difficult. Another is the fact that on every 




recall, the salesman calls on a prospect he has previously 
failed to seirTTEaT sense of failure is a handicap, because 
it makes the salesman more self-conscious. 

In spite of the importance of recalls many salesmen are 
slipshod and careless of their approach while making them. 

Although getting in to see the buyer is usually easier 
the second time, getting his attention is more difficult, and 
is made more so by the thoughtless and inept approach 
which many salesmen practice. 

Any buyer will tell you of such approaches. The com- 
monest one is this: "I was in the neighborhood and stopped 
by to see if you were ready to buy. Remember, I talked 
to you about it last week." The buyer says he remembers 
all right but isn't ready to buy. That settles that. Or the 
salesman may go so far as to insult the buyer by inquiring: 
"You told me last week you weren't going to buy. I won- 
der if you have changed your mind." 

The technique of the salesman on the callback begins 
the minute he is convinced he will not be able to sell on 
his first call. Please remember that: The ca llback begins be - 
fore you leave the prospect the first time you see him**** 

At that time the wise salesman takes steps to assure him- 
self an open door when he comes back. He asks the pros- 
pect for a definite date when he can see him again. 

A brilliant young sales executive I know in Chicago in- 
sists that his men make a written notation of this date in 
the prospect's presence "to impress him with the fact that 
the salesman is taking his word at its face value and ex- 
pects him to buy on the date set." 

Within a few days after the unsuccessful interview, he 



recommends that the salesman write a letter to the pros- 
pect thanking him for his courtesy and reminding him of 
the date they have agreed upon. If considerable time elapses 
between first and second interviews, it is wise to send the 
prospect some literature as a reminder that you expect an 
order from him. 

The next step is to plan the follow-up interview just as 
carefully as you planned the first or initial interview. 

When the salesman calls on his prospect the second time, 
he should re-introduce himself, for some prospects have 
very slippery memories for names and it embarrasses and 
angers them to talk to a salesman whose name they do not 
recollect and whose business may also be hazy to them. 
After that, the rules for the ideal approach apply. 

Naturally, the salesman will not use exactly the same 
words, or the same sense-appealing exhibits; but the prin- 
ciples of gaining attention on the recall are the same. This 
is true regardless of how often or how many times the 
salesman may see the prospect— he has to get undivided, 
relevant attention— selling attention— every time he makes 
a call. 

A hardware dealer was telling me just the other day of 
a jobber salesman who has been calling on him for fifteen 

"I'd rather have Harry come in than any other man on 
the road," he declared. 

"That's because you know him so well and are old 
friends by now," I suggested. 

"Not exactly." 

"Why would you rather see him than anyone else then?" 



"He interests me more. He has never once stepped into 
my store that he didn't have something interesting to show 
me and tell me about." 

This is an answer for the salesman who says it is all very 
well for a one-time salesman to carry something interest- 
ing to show a prospect but what about the salesman who 
has to see the same people week after week? A resource- 
ful salesman can always find something with which to in- 
trigue the buyer, get his undivided attention. 

When he gets into the interview, the salesman must not 
assume that the prospect has remembered what passed be- 
tween them the time they talked before. Since then the 
prospect may have seen fifty, a hundred salesmen. He can't 
keep all those salesmen in mind and their sales talks straight. 
Don't tax his memory too much. Repeat parts of the story 
you told him before. No sales sto ry suffers by repetition , 
you know. 

If you have kept a customer's diary, as recommended, 
you will have other things to talk about— things you know 
interest him. Before you call, consult the diary, read some- 
thing about your man. When you call, it will not be hard 
to get him "coming your way" by discussing subjects you 
know appeal to him. 

As you have already read, one of the best ways to re- 

u""" iii n " ■■' i ii mm u»M u tii w" 

gam attention is to repeat a man s own words, ihis is a 

very good technique to follow in making a recall. Here 

again the customer's diary comes to your aid. In it you 

should write snatches of conversation. On the recall you 

say something like this: "Mr. Coldren, you said something 

very wise when I talked to you last month. We were dis- 

I i49 ] 


cussing the necessity for maintaining larger inventories 
than some merchants maintain. I remember you said. ..." 
He'll listen to that. Any man will. 

The salesman should also try to have something inter- 
esting to say each time he calls. So many salesmen do not. 
They go from one prospect to another, doing a workman- 
like job of boring every man they meet. 

One talented business writer has said that he can tell 
the earning capacity of a salesman by talking to the sales- 
man about the reading the man does, type and amount. 
Without exception, he has found salesmen who are in the 
higher income brackets are salesmen who read. They read 
the magazines of their business, they read business books, 
they read news magazines. They read everything they can 
get their hands on. They read. Such men always interest 
a buyer. Such men always sell more. 

I have been reading about a man now retired and living 
in Florida. He was a top salesman for years. He told a 
writer recently that his ability to tell stories and interest 
buyers was one of his best assets. 

"More than once," said he, "I have gone into a recep- 
tion room filled with salesmen, many of them represent- 
ing competitors, who had been waiting patiently to see 
the head man. I'd send in my card and time after time I'd 
be asked to come in ahead of others. The buyer would 
welcome me with a grin and say, 'Now, what good story 
have you this time that will make me laugh?' ' 

Of course this man was a salesman as well as a story- 
teller and had a good product to sell. It wasn't his stories 
that made the sales, but his ability to interest other human 



beings certainly did open doors for him that might have 
been shut and sealed otherwise. 

Any salesman who will interest his buyers and find the 
answer to the question, "How interesting are you on the 
tenth call?" will have little trouble with recalls, provided 
he looks on each one as an opportunity to use the ideal 

The use of the ideal approach is always fundamental to 
good selling. 




When he was just beginning his interesting career as a 
writer of business articles, a man who had sold his retail 
jewelry store in Texas, decided he'd write a piece about 
the mysteries of salesmanship. 

He sought and obtained permission to make the rounds 
with the best salesman in a large city. He went, expecting 
to find some form of mumbo jumbo by which an ace sales- 
man works his wonders. 

Looking for that, he was disappointed. This top sales- 
man was merely a human being with the quality of per- 
sistence. He took the writer from store to store, making 
a sale in each. The two called last at the largest jewelry 
establishment in town. There was a pleasant greeting as 
between old friends. Then the buyer asked if the sales- 
man could supply a certain grade of watch and how soon 
he could supply it. Equal to the occasion the salesman an- 
swered the question, took an order for several hundred 

He didn't know it at the time, but what the writer had 
witnessed in that store was a drama of salesmanship, and a 
living lesson which any salesman would profit by learning. 

"That was the first time I ever succeeded in selling that 



account," the salesman said as they walked back toward 
the hotel. 

"How long have you been calling on it?" 

"Twelve years." 

"How often have you seen these people during that 

"Always once a month, usually oftener." 

"Do you mean that you have made several hundred 
calls on this prospect without making a sale?" asked the 
astonished author. 

"That's the size of it. Why?" 

Then the salesman explained that his policy was to make 
a call whenever he was in town. He didn't put any pres- 
sure on the prospect to buy. He merely called. He was 
genial. He was helpful. He let the prospect know that his 
business would be appreciated and well handled, but he 
didn't push the matter any more than that. 

"How did you happen to get an order today, when you 
weren't able to sell the prospect during the past twelve 

The explanation was simple. The firm, an old, success- 
ful, conservative concern, had had very satisfactory buying 
connections all through the years. No competitor, so long 
as everything was happy between buyer and supplier, had 
a chance to get his face into the picture. The salesman said 
he knew this. Other salesmen might have regarded the sit- 
uation as hopeless. Not he. He knew that time works 
surely in favor of the salesman who works with time. 

He kept calling. 

It happened that the very morning this salesman and 



the author called together the firm that had supplied the 
jeweler for so many years had broken its word. The jew- 
eler was miffed, let down, ready for a change. Because 
one salesman happened to be on the job he got the business. 
The success of his method depended upon one thing— he 
kept calling. 

The life of every great salesman contains similar stories 
of conquests; conquests that would not have been possible 
without the priceless quality of persistence. One sales- 
man, for instance made 1 50 calls in one year before getting 
an order; another made a hundred calls before he suc- 
ceeded; a third saw his buyer seventy-five times. 

The founder of a famed steamship line was a salesman 
who used this same philosophy. His biographer has writ- 
ten that this man's selling methods were characterized by 
dogged persistence. Even when he was world-famous, 
rich, and eighty years old, he would climb several flights 
of stairs to call on a prospect, and once he started working 
on a man he never, never gave up. 

One prospect has revealed the reason why continued 
calling is the true secret of selling success. Just after the 
prospect had bought from a salesman he said: "I hadn't 
intended buying from you. But you made me. Your per- 
sistence paralyzed my resistance." 

A few years ago the National Retail Dry Goods Associ- 
ation made a survey which shows that persistence is the 
most important sales tool there is. Over 10,000 retailers 
were interviewed in this survey, asked why they bought, 
and after which one of the salesman's calls. Eighty per cent 
responded that they bought after the fourth call. 


A similar survey was made at the same time among sales- 
men. One hundred typical salesmen were studied. Forty- 
eight admitted they made one call— and quit; 2 5 made two 
calls— and quit; 1 5 made three calls— and quit; and the other 
1 2 made four or more calls— and got eighty per cent of the 

If you will compare the two foregoing paragraphs, one 
about the result of a survey among retailers, who said they 
bought mostly after the fourth call, and the other about the 
result of a survey among salesmen, which showed that 
salesmen who keep calling get eighty per cent of the busi- 
ness, you will see that any salesman who wants to, can 
use them as a guide to more success. 

All he has to do is keep calling. 

If all the other qualities a salesman can possess are lack- 
ing, he will succeed with persistence. He will sell more if 
he combines intelligence and selling skill, of course, but 
even without these, if he has persistence he has nearly 
everything a salesman needs. That's the most importan t 
single quality in salesmanship, persistence. 

Many times a salesman wins a customer, loses him, won- 
ders what he should do to win him back. The answer still 
lies in the cardinal rule: keep calling. 

It is a mistake to drop a customer who stops buying. The 
chances are that he regrets telling you he was stopping fu- 
ture orders immediately or shortly after he told you. New 
connections are not always what the buyer expected they 
would be, and he longs to go back to his old salesman and 
supplier. But he can't take the first step toward going back. 
That pride of his, you know, won't let him. So, he puts up 



with discomfort, even with loss and lack of understand- 
ing, all the time wishing somebody from the old firm 
would come in and invite him to come back and buy there 
once more. 

A great sales manager always made it a point personally 
to talk to the "quits." He told them all pretty much the 
same story. 

"You gave us up," he would begin. "We did not leave 
you. Please understand that. And understand also that you 
are welcome back any time you want to come. We still 
want your business, and we will still give you good service 
and value. We want you back. Our salesman is going to 
call on you regularly just as if nothing had ever happened. 
If you ever decide to come back with us, you'll be just as 
welcome as the proverbial flowers in May, believe me you 

His philosophy behind telling the customer that it was 
he who quit the firm, not the firm who quit the salesman, 
was that it gave the customer a clear picture of what he 
had to do and gave him an "out" with his pride. He had to 
take the initiative about coming back, since it was he who 
did the quitting. It couldn't be any other way. 

There are very few conditions that cannot be whipped, 
very few prospects that cannot be sold, if only the sales- 
man will keep on calling. 

The best rule for the salesman to follow is to adopt as 
his selling philosophy the belief of a hard-bitten old mil- 
lionaire of the mail order business. Once he got a name 
on his list it remained there until the buyer bought or died. 



His philosophy was expressed in a slogan: "They buy or 

Of course the first thing for the salesman to do is to ana- 
lyze his customers and prospects and classify them, so that 
he will be spending his time where it will at least give him 
an even break of being spent in talking to worthwhile 
prospects. After that all he has to do is keep calling on 
prospects who are worth calling on, and he'll attain almost 
any ambition in selling he sets up for himself. 

For the salesman who keeps on calling is the salesman 
who keeps on selling. 

Most salesmen give up too soon. 




When I called upon the sales manager of a large indus- 
trial concern, I found him pouring over a box of cards. 
This was his customer and prospect file. Seeing my ques- 
tioning glance, he said: 

"I know what you're wondering." 

"What am I wondering?" 

"Why I don't call in a girl and let her do this job for 
me. Right?" 

"Maybe. Why don't you?" 

"Because it's one of the most important jobs I have." 

"What— sorting those cards?" 

"Let's not put it in exactly those words. They make it 
sound trivial. We actually live out of this box of cards," 
the sales manager declared. 

I knew what he meant. His firm is able to exist because 
it has customers; it has customers because it has prospects 
whom its salesmen can call upon and convert to customers. 
Strictly speaking, the few boxes of simple three by five 
cards which the sales manager was inspecting on his desk 
are all there is to that vast business. 

Similar cards with the names of prospects on them are 
all there is to the business and life of any salesman; just 



a few handfuls of cards, yet they represent everything 
that is important in his life. They pay his rent, premiums on 
his life insurance, support his family. Prospect and cus- 
tomer cards are the lifeblood of selling. 

Earlier you read that the first job of any salesman is that 
of keeping ahead of himself by having a plenitude of 
prospects on hand. Also you read where and how he could 
get those prospects. It is important now to know how to 
manage them and keep them always on the profit side. 

The ideal of every salesman is of course to convert 
prospects into customers every time he makes a call. Then 
his next job is to get more prospects and continue the con- 
version process until he has all the sales that he can handle. 
And that is exactly the way leading salesmen do. First the 
prospect, then the customer, then more prospects, more 
customers— this is the rule for making more sales. 

There are as many different ways of keeping prospect 
lists as there are salesmen, but only occasionally does a 
salesman do a thorough-going job of it. A sales manager 
friend of mine, working a large force of city salesmen, re- 
cently decided he would not permit the salesmen to han- 
dle their cards. He delegated a secretary to do that for 
them. His argument: "Salesmen are notoriously bad de- 
tail men. Maybe they should not be asked to be detail 
men. By relieving them of all detail, releasing them for 
their primary purpose in life, which is to face and con- 
vince prospects, I reason, is the best plan." 

So he had each salesman, immediately after he found a 
prospect or made a call, fill out a three by five card. This 
salesman put the usual information on the card, including 



result of call and time set for a recall. These cards the man 
turned over to the boss, who turned them over to a bright 
girl. She has a tickler file on her desk for each salesman. 
Under the right date she files each card. When the sales- 
man comes to work, there on his desk are the prospects 
he is to see that day. 

"Has the plan worked as well as you expected it to?" I 
asked my friend. 

"Better. We haven't a man on the force who hasn't in- 
creased his sales," he replied. 

You see the value of system in handling a prospect list. 
Not every salesman has a boss who is so enlightened as to 
do the job for him. He doesn't need one. He can be an 
enlightened person himself, and do for himself what these 
salesmen have done for them. 

An ordinary three by five card is all that is needed. It 
should have the name of prospect, type of business, ad- 
dress, credit rating. After that the salesman can write down 
the date of his first call, result of first call, information he 
developed that will help on the recall. I believe also that 
it is important right at the start to classify the prospect as 
A, B, C, D. This rating will be preliminary and will be 
changed later as the salesman comes to know his prospects 
and their potentialities better. But I hold that the classifica- 
tion of prospects and customers is one of the essentials of 
good salesmanship. 

If a salesman will spend an evening making a time analy- 
sis of his work, it will help. Such a time analysis is very 
simple. Salesmen trade on time. They may sell investment 
bonds or cottonseed cake, but the real job they have is that 



of dispensing their minutes, quarter hours, half hours, hours 
where they will do the most good. 

Every salesman has just so many hours of life in every 
year. There are Jfcfttiajiours. No one has any more. They 
are not all working hours. Only about 2,000 are working 
hours during working days, and only a portion of those 
hours can possibly be spent face to face with a prospect; less 
than half. Many hours are wasted. They are wasted in go- 
ing from place to place, in talking to the wrong man, in 
waiting, in making fruitless presentations. 

Some authorities say that not over two fifths of the 
salesman's time is spent in actual selling— only from 500 
to 800 hours a year. Here is an analysis recently made of 
the selling time of a successful specialty salesman. He used 
his 8,760 hours as follows: In sleeping, eating and playing, 
5,110 hours, over half his time; Saturdays and Sundays 
consumed 1,040 hours; holidays took 210 more from his 
life, and other idle days totaled 140 hours. In waiting and 
other wasted time inevitable in selling, he used up 920 
hours, while traveling from call to call required 420 hours. 
This left him 920 hours of actual time to spend with his 

This salesman was a fairly successful man in his indus- 
try. He worked 920 hours to earn his $3,000 income. Con- 
sequently, every hour he spent face to face with a prospect 
was worth $3.33. To earn more money that salesman can 
do two things. First, he can develop his selling technique so 
that each hour is more profitably spent. He may be able to 
add' 2 5 UTffo per cent more earnings by this means. Second, 
he can eliminate some of the waste time. You may have 



noticed that in waiting and other wasteful practices he 
spent exactly as many hours as he spent in facing prospects, 
while his travel time was almost half as much as the time 
he spent in talking business. 

Every salesman should make a similar time study of his 
daily life. Then he can determine how much he would 
like to earn during the year, whether $2,000 or $20,000. 
If he divides the number of hours he works into the total 
amount he wants to earn in a year, he can tell to the penny 
how much his time is worth. And if he does this, he will 
be more jealous of every minute. For if anyone proves the 
truth of that adage that "time is money," it's the salesman. 

In the preceding chapter you saw that the time to stop 
calling on a prospect is never, but that doesn't mean a man 
has to call continually on every name he adds to his list. 
Every salesman has certain names that should be removed. 
List-cleaning, this is called. Some salesmen clean lists by 
judgment— their judgment— but one salesman I know goes 
to his doubtful prospects and asks them candidly if they 
want him to keep calling. 

This is a radical step and doubtless he loses some pros- 
pects who might accidentally become customers if left on 
the list. Mail-order sellers, scientific in everything they do, 
find that list-cleaning is essential to profit. Once a year, 
sometimes of tener, they mail a postal card asking the pros- 
pect if he wants his name removed from the list. The only 
trouble with this method is that the prospect may not know 
for sure whether or not he is going to buy. 

There are some prospects on every list who are in C 
class or lower, marginal prospect. They may have remote 
possibilities for profit, but are hardly worth spending much 



time on, if any. Yet their possibilities for future develop- 
ment may be such that the salesman doesn't want to drop 
them entirely. How can a salesman keep these marginal 
prospects on his list, yet not waste his valuable selling 
hours on them? V L 

On e good way is to keep in touch with doubtful pros- 
pects by telephone or fflaiL It costs rrmch less to telephone 
than to call in person, and for five cents you can mail a 
letter to any prospect in the United States, including 
postage, stationery, and secretarial cost. Now and then one 
of these marginal prospects, under proper treatment, bur- 
geons out as a profitable customer, and this more than pays 
for the little time and attention it takes to keep in touch 
with many such prospects. 

The plan of telephone or mail cultivation of prospects 
is not confined to the marginal names on the list by any 
means. It's good to use every means of maintaining contact 
with all your customers and prospects, especially when 
you can't see them as often as you'd like. 

One salesman who was able to call on me only three 
times a year, because he worked a large territory, kept me 
as a prospect and customer for years by his shrewd plan 
of never letting me forget him for a minute. He kept in 
touch with me by writing notes or postal cards. Often I 
have postponed placing important orders until he could 

In this competitive world he who n^ajntains the closest 
contacts gets the most business— and if you want to increase 
your sales, never let a customer forget. you. 

The late O. O. Mclntyre, whose New York jottings 
were distributed to the newspapers by the McNaught 



Syndicate, Inc. and read by millions, once told about the 
efforts of two : uccessful New York businessmen in keep- 
ing in touch with their prospects. 

"One of New York's most successful insurance agents 
has an unusual method of keeping up contacts with those 
who are likely prospects. His secretary searches every sort 
of publication for any mention of prospects— a sort of one- 
man clipping bureau. These are carefully filed away. After 
a short time the prospect will receive a letter from the 
agent calling his attention to the clipping and wondering 
if it has been seen by him. Whether it was or not, the reac- 
tion to being remembered in this way is pleasant. And 

"Ben Riley, the restaurateur, too keeps a close eye on 
patrons. Each night he sets down the name and date of 
prominent people who have dined there. At intervals of 
several months he checks up and if they have not been 
back he sends a hand-written letter telling them how much 
they have been missed and wondering if the food and serv- 
ice were not up to usual standards. As a result, his place is 
always well filled. Flattery is a big asset." 

A good prospect list never stops growing. If it does, the 
salesman whose list it is stops selling, for there is a mathe- 
matical certainty that unless a salesman does something 
every day to add prospects to his list, there will come many 
days when he makes no sales. 

That is the reason why any time a salesman spends in 
working for or with prospects is not wasted time— before a 
sale can be made or a customer won, there must have been 
a name on some salesman's card. 




The newly-elected president of a Chicago advertising 
agency instituted a policy that helped make the agency, in 
just a few years, one of the largest in the world. This man 
was pointed out as a business genius for what he had 
achieved. Truly he was. But the policy he instituted was 
not the policy of genius; it was the policy of common 

In those days it was customary for advertising agencies 
seeking new accounts to flirt outrageously with large ad- 
vertisers served by other agencies. Their flirtation was of 
the extravagant kind and they spent thousands of dollars 
entertaining and trying in other ways to beguile advertis- 
ers to their agencies. 

The result was a competitive situation which did no one 
any good. 

And all the time this new president was guiding his firm 
along a course that avoided this waste and excessive costs 
and brought it accounts which became very large in size 
and profit. _ — — — r — 

He conceived the job of a salesman to be, to use the apt 
phrase of a business engineer, the manufacture of custom- 

Instead of going out into the open field and fighting for 


accounts, this shrewd salesman set out to discover what 
advertisers, then small in size, had possibilities for de- 
velopment. He would take a small manufacturer with 
promise and nurture him until he had transformed him into 
a large, prosperous account. His agency got the profits of 

There is a tip here for any salesman who wants to sell 
more in his territory, along his route or behind his coun- 
ter—look on yourself as a customer^ manufacturer rather 
than as a mere salesman. 

The raw materials of customers are prospects, and the 
process of turning a raw prospect into a finished customer 
is known as salesmanship, and a man who sells is a cus- 
tomer . rnanufacturen^^^^^ 

Customers are valuable assets. Several years ago I read 
about the complacency of a manufacturer whose plant had 
burned to the ground. When notified of the mishap, the 
manufacturer was not perturbed. He had a leisurely break- 
fast, smoked a cigar, drove to the site, surveyed the charred 
and smoking ruins, discussed rebuilding the plant, gave or- 
ders, went out and played golf. 

"Why aren't you more worried and upset about your 
fire?" asked a friend 

"What is there to be worried about?" 

"The plant. It burned to the ground." 

"I know. But the plant and equipment were covered 
by insurance. And our most important asset wasn't harmed 
by the fire at all. The only important asset any business 
has is good will. That's another name for customers. Our 
customers weren't in the fire, so we'll go along just as if 

[ 166] 


nothing ever happened. We'll buy our requirements from 
our competitors until our new plant is ready." 

What salesmen do not often realize is that customers 
are likewise their personal property and the most valuable 
and important asset they possess. Various values have been 
put on customers. Recently The Reporter, a sprightly 
monthly devoted to direct mail selling, set out to ascertain 
the dollar-and-cents value of a customer. Those who sold 
petroleum products put an annual worth of $51.65 on a 
customer; the shoe manufacturer said his customers were 
worth $1,200 apiece a year; the office equipment man's 
customer is worth $ 1 50 a year to his; stock and bond sales- 
men put a value of $85 on their customers, while the men's 
clothing stores figure a customer to be worth $60 a year. 

The radio station set a value of $50,000 on each cus- 
tomer, top of the list. A manufacturer of canned dog food 
put his customer value at $ 1 ,000 while a resort hotel said 
$60 would be about right. A correspondence school sub- 
mitted the figure of $130, an envelope manufacturer said 
it would be $32.50, and a leather belting maker estimated 
each of his customers is worth $400 a year. 

The manufacturer of heavy equipment put a higher 
value on his customers— $6,000 apiece a year. An industrial 
designer said his were worth $2,000. A furniture retailer 
put in a figure of $50. 

You can see from this list, which is incomplete, that 
every time you make a new customer you achieve some- 
thing great and that every time you lose a customer you 
suffer a major disaster. The moral: Take better care of your 



A business writer once described a customer as a human 
being who can survive everything but neglect. The first 
rule for keeping a customer is not to neglect him, and the 
first rule for manufacturing a customer is to take a good 
prospect and treat him as though he were a customer. 

One thinker on salesmanship has said that when a sales- 
man gets a new customer he should give him unusual serv- 
ice and attention for a while, even if he has to neglect his 
older customer to do so. The reason is that the new cus- 
tomer puts a salesman on probation whether the salesman 
knows it or not and can easily cancel his initial order or 
refuse to place additional orders with him if the salesman 
fails to measure up. 

The salesman should go to great length to serve, this man 
says. He should see that the goods come through right and 
that everything is satisfactory. In time he can relax some- 
what and give the customer less solicitous service, but it is 
never safe to neglect a customer or give him anything less 
than the best service of which you are capable. 

One of the most adroit and resourceful customer manu- 
facturers I ever knew was a genteel old man who worked 
in a shoe store. All his life he regarded his job as that of 
manufacturing customers. It never lost its thrill for him. 
A short while before he passed away at the age of 86, I 
met him on the street. He had been selling shoes then for 
nearly seventy years. 

"I just got another new customer!" he said exultingly. 

"Must be the millionth," I chided him. 

"I don't know the exact number," he responded, "but 



every time I get a new customer I get as big a thrill as I 
did when I was just starting in business." 

His process of customer manufacturing started when a 
woman came in to see a pair of shoes. He was a gracious 
and fine gentleman- and no woman could resist his polite- 
ness. He tried to give her better service than she had got 
anywhere else. This was his first step. When she left he 
was extremely grateful, thanking her for her business. 

Two days later the woman received a letter from the 
salesman, expressing the hope that she was pleased with her 
purchase, again thanking her, and saying he hoped she 
would become one of his regular customers. 

If she didn't come in again inside of three months, he 
wrote her once more, telling her he had missed her, hoping 
he soon would have the pleasure of serving her once more. 
He kept in touch. Each time he saw the woman he would 
suggest that she might have friends or relatives whom he 
could also serve. He was always using one customer as a 
means of creating more customers. 

I have recited the simple annal of this old man, because 
in a forthright and sincere way he did exactly the things 
which every salesman must do if he wants to become an 
expert customer manufacturer: Give better service, be 
grateful, follow up the customer, keep in touch with him, 
and ask him to help you find more customers. 

One way of getting customers, the most direct way of 
all, which some salesmen overlook, consists of asking every 
one to be your customer. That is all. It flatters anyone to 
be asked to become a customer for two reasons: First, we 



all like to be important to others; second, because it hap- 
pens so infrequently. Think back on your own experi- 
ence. How long has it been since a salesman has asked you 
to become a regular customer, an exclusive customer? 

I knew a doughty old salesman who kept going on the 
street for nearly half a century and who never failed at 
every stop to invite his prospects to give him all their 
business. He didn't want much— just all their business. 

He wasn't a smooth, polished salesman either, so his 
acting lacked the subtlety of a British diplomat. It was a 
frank, forthright, open statement like this: "Will you be 
an exclusive customer of mine and buy everything in my 
line from me? It will help me give you better service and 
prices." Most of those to whom the invitation was ex- 
tended, accepted. My old friend, when he died, left a large 
fortune and a sales record that none of the younger sales- 
men for his firm have been able so much as to nick. 

The job of manufacturing customers is important all 
right, one of the salesman's most important jobs. But it is 
also interesting, fascinating I should say. As a matter of 
fact, there's hardly anything more interesting, any way 
you look at it. Not long ago I was talking to a young man 
who made a great record as an athlete in college. After 
college he starred at polo, golf, tennis. He said he had 
given up all those pursuits now that he was getting a foot- 
hold in business. 

I warned him against too much work and no play. 

"But, man, this is play!" he exclaimed. "Why, where 
will you find a game that holds more excitement and thrills 
than the game of catching customers? It's got football, 

[ 170] 


golf, polo backed off the boards. It's the most enthralling 
game in the world— manufacturing customers! " 

It is. 

And the easiest. 

Why, all you have to do is: Give better service, be grate- 
ful, follow up the call, keep in touch, and ask the customer 
to help you find more customers. 





Ability, 16, 23 

Abuse, 137 

Advice, 88 

Advertising, 20, 54, 71-3, 109, 

112, 132, 165-6 
Alarm, burglar, 97 
American, 25 

market, 22-3, 26 

prospect, 7 

time, 1 60-1 
Angel, 9, 19 
Anger, 130, 148 

curiosity, 98-9, 109 

recalls, 146 

third-person, 89 
Athlete, 45, 170 
Attack, 82, 84, 96 
Attention, 62-3, 91-7, 10 1-2, 
113, 1 1 5-6, 129, 134-5, 
140-3, 145-9, 164, 168 

irrelevant, 92 

relevant, 92-3, 98, 141-2, 148 

"selling," 148 

undivided, 92-6, 98, 103, 107, 
109, 141-2, 148-9 
Attention-getters, 108 
Attitude, salesman's, 104 
Australia, 4 

Authorities, 23, 30, 161 
Authors, 153-4 

direct sense, 96-100, 103, 106, Automobile, 33, 58, 108 

108-9, IJ 3> I2 °-> J 4-8 
"long circuit," 95 B 

"short circuit," 95-6 

Appearance, 139 Baker, 21 

Appointments, 12-3, 73, 83-6, Balance, 134 

89, 1 26-1 3 1, 141 Bali, 72 

books, 128 Bankers, 14, 45, 69, 85 

Approach, 44, 69, 72, 80, 86, "Barking your shins," 11 

95-8, 100, 102-3, io 7> Baseball, 61 

109, 1 1 3-5, 1 1 8-1 24, 129, Billfolds, 77 

147 "Bird dog" method, 33 

ideal, 102, 104-7, 109-110, Blotters, 60 

119, 129, 148, 151 Bonds, 107, 142, 160 

oblique, 86, 89 Bookkeeping department, 45 



Booklet, 1 1 8, 1 20, 122 

Books, 14-5, 46, 59, 150 
appointment, 128 

Bottleneck, 92 

Boxer, 61, 132 

Broom, 39 

Broom-brush, 144 

Brushes, 16-7, 144-5 

Brush-off, 142 

Buckpasser, 142 

Buffalo, 23 

Buffers, 80 

Bureau, clipping, 164 

Burglar, 97 

Buyers, 38, 44, 52,55-6, 58, 61, 
64, 68-71, 74-9, 81, 93, 
116, 129, 134, 136-8, 143, 
146, 149-154, 156 

Cabinets, kitchen, 107 
Cadillac, 22 
California, 48 
Callback, 147 

Calls, 4, 1 1-2, 32-4, 49-51, 
SS-6, 58, 68-9, 73, 79, 
82, 85, 87, 120, 126-8, 
130, 132, 136, 140, 146, 
148, 150-1, 153-4, 155-7, 
cold turkey, 1 1 
courtesy, 6^ 
direct, 120 
inquiry, 120 
missionary, 33 
preliminary, 12 
reference, 124 
Cameras, 108 
Canvassing, 11, 127 
Cards, 22, 42, 54, 60, 67-8, 150, 
158-160, 162-4 

Cartoon, 78 

Cartridges, 99 

Cashier, 140 

Cat, 99 

Cemetery, 38 

"Center of Influence," 34-5 

Chauffeur, 22 

Checking, 93 

Cheyenne, 35 

Chicago, ss^ 6 4> 7 1 " 2 * IOI » J 47> 

i6 5 
Cigars, 18, 37, 60 
Cincinnati, 8 
Classifications, 10, 30-1, 52-3, 

157, 160 
Cleveland, ^6 
Clippings, 108, 164 
Competition, 24, 34, 54-6, 100, 

150, 153, 165, 167 
Confidence, 50, 133 
Contacts, 31-4, 70, 82, 85-7, 89, 
119, 163-4 

classification, 31 

relevant, 32 
Conviction, 93 
Counselor, 3 
Coupons, 1 18-120 
Courage, 143 
Courtesy, 133, 148 
Coveralls, 97-8 

Curiosity, 68, 70, 85, 97-9, 101, 
106, 109, 129, 134, 136 
"Customer diary," 47, 149 
Customer-finder, 20, 30 

former, 21, 27, 138, 155 

lists, 3, 4, 11 

tough, ^ 

"typing," 10 

worth of, 167 
Cutouts, 109 

[ !74l 


Dealers, 17, 83, 98, 148 
Defenses, buyer's, 81-2, 133 
Detail, 159 
Detroit, 41, 67 
Directories, 21, 46 
Discourtesy, 1 3 2-7 
Dividends, 79 
Dominating, 139 
Domineering, 139 
"Door openers," 58-9 
Drummers, 60, 92 
Duty, "shock troop," 2 

"Ease-out," 44 

Editor, newspaper, 8, 19, 25 

Eliot, Dr. Charles, 120 

Embarrassment, 106, 148 

Emerson, 104 

"Endless Chain Prospecting," 

36, 122-3 
Entrance, salesman's, 104 
Essayist, 9 

Etiquette, business, 68 
Europe, 38, 104, 135 
Exaggeration, 139 
Ex-burglar, 97 
"Expects," 10 
"Eyelock," 106 

Failure, 147 
Farmer, 26 
Fatherland, 135 
Favors, 64 
Fear, 117 

"plate glass," 89 


customer and prospect, 158 

tickler, 160 
Fire, 8 
Fish, 99 
Fisticuffs, 132 

Five Foot Shelf of Books, 120 
Flattery, 164, 169 
Florida, 150 
Flour, Marigold, 107 
"Foller the feed," 24 
Formula, selling, 48 

General Motors, 22 
Gifts, 58 

Good will, 34, 58, 166 
Gratitude, 91, 129 
Grievance, 137 
Grocers, 99, 132 


Hammer, 98-9 
Handshake, 105-6 
Hat, 75 

Headstones, 38 
Hearn, Lafcadio, 9 
Hobbies, 46 
Home owners, 108 
Hotel manager, 18 
"Houseboat selling," 142 
Housewives, 58 
Hurdles, 61, 63, 69, 70 


Imagination, 9, 21, 63, 108 

and hard work, 28 
Impression, first, 104 



Inattention, 143 

Incomes, 24, 46 

Indiana, 75 

Inquiry, 1 18-123, 125 

Insults, 133, 137, 139, 147 

Insurance, 13, 15, 35-7, 107-8, 

124, 159, 164, 166 
Intelligence, 155 
Interest, 93, 102, in, 124-5, 

127, 135-6, 143-6, 149- 

Interruptions, 1 1 1-7 

Interviews, 48, ^6, 58, 64, 68, 

77, 79, 82-3, 88, 91-2, 

103, 112, 114, 117, 122, 

126-7, Hi. H3. !47"9 

fact-finding, 12-3 


Laundress, 123 

Laundry, 24 

Law, basic, 3 

Law of Averages, 4, 99 

"Leader," 144 

Leads, 122-5 

Letters, 75-6, 82-3, 109, 119, 

124, 127, 129, 148, 164, 

of introduction, 69, 89 
"List-cleaning," 162- 
Lists, 76, 88, 132, 156, 162-3, 


customer, 3-4, n, 27 
mailing, 21 

prospect, 1, 7, 159-160, 164 
Literature, 53, 59-60, 119, 
1 2 1-2, 148 

2 ~3> J 5> I2 7 
Investments, 6, 14, 35, 41, 68, Los Angeles, 29, 69 

time, 7 

Italians, 132-3 

Jerries, Jim, 11 5-6 
Jeweler, 154 
Johnson, Iven, 98 
Johnson, Jack, 11 5-6 
Joiners, 32 
Judgment, in, 121, 162 


Kansas City, 42 
Kidding, 130 
Kits, sample, 78 

Laird, Dr. Donald, 139 
Language, 135 

[i 7 6i 

Lumber yard, 59, 135 

Mclntyre, O. O., 163 


Magazines, 48, 78, 109, 118, 

Mails, 85, 163 

Managers, department, 77, 113 
Manual, instruction, 126 
Manufacturers, 21, 24, 33, 38, 

41, 72, 133, 166-8 
Map, 7 

Marigold Flour, 107 
Markets, 5, 24, 27-30, ^ 

analysis, 22, 26 

expanding, 20 

low-income, 24 
Massachusetts, 104 
Match, 96 
Mattress, 101 


Meeting, sales, 17 Office boy, 63, 65, 71, 127 

Merchants, 25-6, in Opinions, 77, 83, 114, 142 

Methods, 10, 44, 136, 138, 142, Opportunism, 38, 40 


"bird dog," 33 

low pressure, 87 

notes, 75 

preheating, 53-4 

selling, 10, 13-4, 26, 41, 58 
Model, pump, 107 
Mojave Desert, 29 
Money, 23-5, 35, 76, 112-3, 

139-140, 143-4, 161-2 
Montana, 18 
Motorists, 97 

Orchestra, 101 

Orders, 4, 18, 136, 138, 152-5, 

163, 168 
asking for, 2, 9-10, 23, 133 
Organizations, selling, 14, 28, 

Outwaiting, 134 

Pacific Northwest, 140 
Papers, financial, 86 
"Passing the buck," 142 
N Patterson, John H., 12 

Pause, 112, 137 
Names, 5, 35-7, 55, 60, 85, 105, Peary, Admiral, 66 

148, 162-4 
Navy, 132-3 
Nazis, 135 
Neglect, 168 
Negro, 22 
New Jersey, 61 
New Mexico, 47, 135 

Peddlers, 64, 66, 127 
Persistence, 74, 152, 154-5 
"Personal matter," 6^, 67 
Personality, 133, 138 
Physicians, 87 
Pilot, elevator, 46 
Pipes, 38 

Planning, 2, 6, 39, 41-5, 47-8, 
50, S5^ 63, 75> "7> l6 3 

New Orleans, 132 

New York, 5, 8, 19, 28, 38, 43, 

53, 6^ 84, 88, 101, 163-4 Poise, 133, 137-8 
Newspapers, 47, 108 Politeness, 169 

"No," buyer's, 71-4, 76-7, 100, Preacher, 35 


Not interested, 11 1-2 
Notes, 75-6, 85, 163 
Notices, advance, 54 
Novelty, 60, 146 


Objections, 114, 116, 128 
Offense, 137-8 

Preheating, 53-4 
Prejudgment, 16, 18, 24 
Preparation, 69, 79 
Presentation, sales, 70-2, 81-2, 

92, no, 161 
Pressure, 70, 153 
Programs, prospect-finding, 

4-5, 2I 
Prospecting, io-n, 25, 46, 63 
Prospectors, 29-30 

[ 177] 



ability, 16 

backlog of, 5 

card, 26 

classifying, 52 

creating, 30 

marathon runner, 135 

new, 26 

qualifying, 14, 17 

unqualified, 118 
Psychologists, 13, 48-9, 94, 116, 

*? 9 
Publications, 86, 164 

Purchasing agents, 84, 92 

Quarrel, 132 

Questions, 93, 101, 106, 112, 

115, 117, 143, 151-2 
Quick exit, 44 
"Quits," 156 


Radio, 22-3, 26, 166 
Railing, 136 
Reading, 150 
Rebuffs, 11, 132-3, 139 
Recalls, 146-9, 1 51-160 
Recommendations, 77 
Records, 18, 21 
Refrigerators, 24, 26, 33 
Refusals, 9, 11, 15, 72, 74 
Remodeling, 59 
Repetition, 149 
Reporter, The, 167 
Reporters, newspaper, 8, 25 
Reports, salesmen's, 2 
Resistance, 77, 154 

Restaurateur, 164 

Revolver, 98-9 

Rink, skating, 38 

Rudeness, 133-4 

Rules, 7, 19, 28, 58, 63, 69, 

78-9,81, 106, 1 1 2-3, 119, 

133, 148, 159 
Run-around, 142 
Ruses, 74-5 
"Rush act," 131 

Saint Louis, 37 

closing, 93, 114, 118, 127, 131 

creating, 29, 32 

increasing, 53, 101, 160, 163 

managers, 1-2, 5-6, 16-7, 24, 

37, 43, 5 1 , 53, 57, 59, 
68, 98, 100, 104, 132, 
146, 156, 158-9 

presentation, 9-12, 18, 44 
Salesmanship, 102, 106, 115, 155, 
166, 168 

course, 57 

creative, 30 

sissy, 69 
Salesmen, 10, 16-8, 101 

missionary, 33 

National Cash Register, 12 

plans, 39, 4 1 -3 

"sales-managing," 23-4 
Salmon, 99-100 
Samples, 58, 75, 114, 143 
San Francisco, 108 
San Quentin, 97 
Sarcasm, 139 
Saws, 100 
Schedule, 69 
"Scouting," 61 



Secretaries, 61-5, 70-1, 74, 78- Tent, 78 

80, 82-6, 89, 113, 127-8, Territories, 6-7, 17-8, 22, 33, 
131, 159, 164 38-9, 47, 54, 57, 127, 

"Selling scouts," 25 163, 166 

Senses, 96-7, 101, 106, 124 Testimonials, 124 

Service, 12, 27, 53, 55, 107-9, Texas, 152 

127, 138, 156, 164, 168- Time study, 52, 162 

Sexton, 38 
"Sharpshooting," 55 
"Shock-troop" duty, 2 
Showmanship, 75 
Silence, 135, 143 
Skill, 80, 103, 141, 146, 155 
Smile, 104, 112, 137, 139 
South Seas, 71 
Special delivery, 75 
Stalls, 76-7, 122, 130 
Stare, 106 
Stationery, 85 
Steamship line, 154 
Stockings, 101 
Stocks, 107, 142 
Stores, 37-8, 152, 168 
Stories, 150, 154 

Trains, 69-70 
Tricks, 44, 63, 75, 89, 114 
Trucks, 75, 77 
Turnover, customer, 3 


Unemployment rolls, 25 
United States, 163 


Vacation, 71 
Value, 156, 167 
Vanity, 88 


Waiting, 77-9, 134-5, l6z 

Strategy, So, £, 84-5, 8 7 , » 7 Wall Street, 6 

Stylist, 9 
"Success consciousness," 4B 
"Suspects," 10, 34 
Suspicion, 87 
Sympathy, 140 
Synthesis, 46 

Taxes, 25 

"Teaser copy," 129 

Techniques, in, 114-6, 128, 

134, 137, 161 
Telegrams, 74-5 
Telephone, 54, 74, 84, 113, 125, 

127, 130, 163 

War, 24 

Washing machine company, 24, 

Washington, George, 105 
Watches, 152 

Wealth, distribution of, 25 
Western Union, 75 
Wheat, 107 
Whitman, Walt, 133 
Wife, prospect's, 140 
Will, 66 
Writers, 150, 152, 168 

Yale, 45 

[ 179] 




Finding the prospect and getti main 

3 12b2 031fl^ 3QA3 

1 i